The Streets

No British rapper has a bigger hurdle to overcome than the Streets' Mike Skinner. His second full-length, A Grand Don't Come for Free, comes two years after the critical and fan favorite Original Pirate Material, an album the "British Eminem" used to turn the world on its collective ear, with his lisping, singular way of observing daily matters from the point of view of Everyman giving mundane issues a hilarious new twist.

Though a scant three years older since Original Pirate Material's U.K. release in early 2002, Skinner seems to have aged in dog years. His chitchats about smoking weed and playing video games have matured into stories about relationships with guy friends and girlfriends which turn on the realization that he can only rely on himself. This story of self-discovery is told throughout A Grand; it follows a chronological pattern from beginning to end, with each song a separate chapter in the tale.

A Grand moves away from the U.K. garage beats of Original Pirate Material, connected by a borderline disposable backing track. But the music has always been secondary; rather, Skinner's clever and fluid lyrics are the main focus. Who can't relate to him on "Such A Twat," where he fumes, "Hello?/Fuckin' phones man!/I got crap reception in my house/I got to stand in a certain spot in my kitchen or it cuts out."

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lily Moayeri