SELF D-FENCE

The So Solid Crew speaks for the first time from behind bars...

SO SOLID CREW's ASHER D has claimed that fears for his life and that of his girlfriend and children led him to carry the gun that cost him his freedom, NME.COM can reveal.

Speaking for the first time from behind bars of the young offenders centre where he has been serving a sentence for firearms possession since March, Asher said in the months before jail he knew he was heading for prison or "a coffin".

"I've been kidnapped before. I've had guns put to my head, my life threatened, death threats through my door and e-mails on my phone, stuff like that," he said.

"I was paranoid, mega-paranoid because I saw myself either coming to jail or being put in a coffin, you get me? In the back of a hearse.

"The last straw was being threatened by someone with a gun and threats on my children's life and my girlfriend's life... to the point where I didn't leave the house without my kids and my girlfriend. They never went anywhere alone... I was too scared to let them go out alone. Then I was living in the heart of Brixton, that's where the most hassle was coming from."

The garage star said threats were borne of jealousy from those around him who resented his success within So Solid Crew and from criminal elements within his own community.

"I was living in the heart of it on an estate where crack dealers were dealing drugs, pimps were pushing prostitutes. And I was walking in and out of that estate every day. People were seeing me every day and obviously before long it's going to become knowledge isn't it? Asher D lives there.

"The attention that we were getting, the MOBOs, the Brits, it all helped to escalate to a level where people thought - they're too big now. They've got stuff and kind of we ain't got the talent to go and get our stuff so we're going to take it off them. That's when everything started happening. People started getting approached by people who wanted to rob them or take their car or take their jewellery and whatever."

Asher was sentenced to 18 months on March 25. He has been mooted for early release next Monday (October 7), allowing for good behaviour.

The release of his forthcoming solo album has been delayed to allow him time to make changes to it, informed by his time inside.

"I had to go through this. I see it as, it may be a blessing, it may be a sign from God, you never know. I never came here, I might have got shot out there, I might have done something stupid... I might have had to come here longer than I had to. So maybe it's good this happened before anything else escalated or whatever."

Asher's interview can be seen in full on 'This Is So Solid', a documentary tracking the rise of the collective to be broadcast on Channel 4 on October 8.

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