Living a Life That Matters: A Conversation with Sol Guy
02 Dec 2011 12:22 AM
Click to enlarge
Growing up in Canada, who would have known that Sol Guy’s early love affair with music would culminate into a lifelong marriage? As a devoted hip hop head and skateboarder, music was instrumental in helping Sol realize that he’s a citizen of the world…and that it’s a gift to be with other people and to bathe yourself in other cultures.
Sol got his first start in the music industry as a member of Canada’s hip hop group the Rascalz. After enjoying the thrill of being a teenager with a record deal, he eventually moved from center stage to behind the scenes – earning his stripes by getting involved in the production and management side of the music industry. Eventually, the opportunity to work with artists presented itself – and he was on a world tour – hanging with the likes of P. Diddy and introducing the concept of “street teams” to the Canadian market.
Heavy Duty Sh*#t
Notwithstanding the fun and fame, it was Sol’s fateful trip to Sierra Leone in 2001 that would represent a turning point in his life.
“Yo, that trip was some heavy duty sh*#t! There was so much beauty coupled with tragedy. It just put my life in perspective and made me reassess my priorities. When you see a six-month old baby with one arm chopped off, you can’t help but change.”
During this trip, the Rascalz also put together their own documentary entitled, “Musicians in the War Zone”. Upon his return to Canada, Sol began focusing on a new chapter in life – which involved showing the documentary in schools and working more with the youth.
“This was around the time I first met K’naan,” recalled Sol. “One kid introduced us. And he would come by the crib, and we would talk about music business; but at the same time, I really wasn’t that interested in getting involved in the music industry again. But K’naan was just a good dude and we remained friends. Every now and then, he’d ask my advice and I might scratch some notes on his publishing deals. And eventually, it just felt like our spirits lined up and I had an obligation to work with him. It was a privilege, and I had to take advantage of this opportunity to work with this kindred spirit from someplace else in the world.”
Living with Passion
Fast forward to 2011, as a father, Sol’s latest mission in life is to show the kids the potential in life and leave this planet just a little better then when he entered it.
“I want the kids to see me living my life with passion and to realize that they can manifest anything in the world. It’s their birthright to shine bright. Plus, I think it’s important that kids assume their roles as leaders. I want to challenge them to think about what leadership and success really look like.”
“Even for myself, I want to have a positive impact on others and the world. But make no mistake, I’m not all crunchy – I like clothes and cars too. But I want to inspire others to greatness – no matter where they are in life. We all have to impact society for the better because everyone is important.”
Next Chapter: 4RealTV
Sol doesn’t just talk the talk…he also walks the walk. On top of being a rapper, manager and social activist – add reality show producer to his resume. Never resting on his duff, Sol was instrumentals in producing 4RealTV, which was a reality show that introduced celebrities to real life heroes. Sol explained that he was introduced to a number of celebrities who wanted to be involved with something that had a radically different approach. So 4RealTV became all about connecting the celebrities with issues they actually cared about. But there were some rules: no entourage, no make up, and no pretense. He went to great lengths to ensure that the show as more about the cause than the celebrities.
“We flipped it – the celebs weren’t the celebs. And that’s what we had to do. The nonprofit model is broke. We need to take a different approach to social entrepreneurship…to cleaning things up. The energy of the world is really backwards. You can’t make change when you’re begging for change. That’s why people are demanding more transparency. We have to do it differently!”
Always the innovator, Sol is determined to stay on his trajectory – more TV, music and films are on the horizon. “I plan on working harder and playing smarter. I want to try harder to light up the world. Some people will think I’m idealistic. And you know what? Yeah, I am! We call all change the world if we put our minds to it. I mean…it’s just dope to change the world. Just come as you are….’cause if you can walk, you can dance!”