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These look well speckly, bit of green and blue
May 22, 2004 4:03 PM   Subscribe

the rebirth of concept Mike Skinner aka The Streets is back with a new album that have critics comparing it to the best of Mike Leigh and Pulp's Different Class. A Grand Don't Come for Free. Now Mr. Skinner is touring North America with apparent heir Dizzee Rascal. A new british invasion. Coming soon to a town near you. and a call out to the blue and green in the track Blinded by the Light.
posted by grimley (39 comments total)

 
been waiting for this so long, I'd forgotten I've been waiting for it. skinner is fairly brilliant.
posted by dorian at 4:10 PM on May 22, 2004


I've seen Mikee a couple times and Dizzee once. If you know the songs, it's always fun to hoist a pint at a Streets show and sing along. He's not an amazing live performer.

Dizzee, however, IS an amazing live performer, whether you know the songs or not. If you're into pure verbal and mental dexterity, don't miss him. Even though you won't understand a word unless you've memorized the album.
posted by lbergstr at 4:11 PM on May 22, 2004


brilliant post for a brilliant cd.
Oi.
posted by Sijeka at 4:31 PM on May 22, 2004


Good post, but don't believe the hype. Skinner can't rap. The new album is annoying -- I would commit violent acts if forced to listen to that first track again -- and cry me a fucking river for dropping your cash into the TV set. What sort of sitcom nonsense is that? The critical response to this album makes me think there's some sort of secret affirmative action program for white kids with speech impediments.

Dizzee is all right, though. I'd like to see him live.
posted by subgenius at 4:35 PM on May 22, 2004


All the same, it's sort of cool to see these English hip-hop movements. Background on grime can be found here. A Village Voice article on Dizzee is here.
posted by subgenius at 4:54 PM on May 22, 2004


Even though I loved the first album. the latest Streets single started bad for me. I was pretty sure that it was rubbish, but after hearing it for a couple of times I had the "fit but you know it" refrain on autoloop inside my head. I quite like the song now.
posted by seanyboy at 5:04 PM on May 22, 2004


it's not hip hop, it's GARAGE UK URBAN music :)
posted by Sijeka at 5:17 PM on May 22, 2004


You know, this FPP, like so many others, brings to mind a Simpsons quote.

"I used to be with 'it," but then they changed what 'it' was. Now what I'm with, isn't 'it,' and what's 'it" seems weeeiiird and scary to me. It'll happen to you!"

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go reorganize my record collection biographically.
posted by keswick at 5:27 PM on May 22, 2004


it seems to me that most critics are just blinded by the fact that someone with an english accent is rapping instead of listening to the music itself.

that said, the streets is ok if you can get over his entire lack of cadence.

either way, dizzee rascal is damn annoying.
posted by joedan at 6:07 PM on May 22, 2004


If his act is about being authentic and 'for real' - from 'the streets', no less - why has he come up with a concept story album that centres around a fictional version of himself?

It's not bad, but if you want 'real' UK hip hop/electronic, pick DJ Yoda, DJ Format, Lionel Vinyl or anyone on the Spymania label.
posted by tapeguy at 6:31 PM on May 22, 2004


I like to think of him as a modern-day one-man beastie boys.
posted by dorian at 6:44 PM on May 22, 2004


Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go reorganize my record collection biographically.

Shouldn't that be "in reverse autobiographical order"? Just sayin'.

either way, dizzee rascal is damn annoying.

A-men.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:19 PM on May 22, 2004


Huh. Well, I like The Streets, the new and the old. I think most people who like the record don't care that Skinner can't rap -- he's not really trying to rap. It's barely rap music any more.

And Dizzee Rascal is awesome. To each his own I guess!
posted by josh at 8:11 PM on May 22, 2004


I think most people who like the record don't care that Skinner can't rap -- he's not really trying to rap

i love when the defense to criticism is, 'he/she isn't trying to do X.' what are they trying to do, then?
posted by NationalKato at 8:18 PM on May 22, 2004


Wot do u call it?
Garage?
Wot do u call it?
Urban?
Wot do u call it?
2step?
tell us what u call it

posted by meech at 8:46 PM on May 22, 2004


i love when the defense to criticism is, 'he/she isn't trying to do X.' what are they trying to do, then?

Would I be dodging the criticism if I say I think he's really good at what he does, even though he isn't a good rapper?
posted by ejoey at 8:51 PM on May 22, 2004


what are they trying to do, then?

Something other than rap -- obviously. There's no reason why every new record needs to fit into some set of genre conventions. Obviously Skinner's thing is to awkwardly speak/pseudo-rap sappy, humorous lyrics about his life over a variety of beats, sometimes with a melodic chorus. I just don't see why his ability as a rapper has anything to do with the quality of his record. He does what he does, if you don't like it, that's fine, but what he does it not really hip hop.
posted by josh at 8:52 PM on May 22, 2004


is --- is not really hip hop. arg. what he does, it not hip hop!!!!!
posted by josh at 8:53 PM on May 22, 2004


hip hop is a state of mind.

I just made that up.
posted by ejoey at 8:54 PM on May 22, 2004


When I first heard 'Fit but you know it' I was blown away, it had a good 'band' sound going on all the way, kinda like a second-wave ska Madness sound sort of sound. Then I heard the 'proper' version and was a little disappointed.

Does anyone know what remix/adaptation I heard the first time around? It was like the radio single, but instead of the background being the same guitar noise over and over, it had better (live) drums, and a (live) bass line that went all over the place. I don't think it was actually a live version, but it was what Radio 1 played when they played it for the first time.
posted by wackybrit at 9:03 PM on May 22, 2004


Worth pointing out at this point that in the UK, toasting & chat from reggae (which in turn was influenced by early US DJs), altho' not as obvious as US rap, is also an influence so don't always expect non-USian artists to completely ape their US counterparts.
posted by i_cola at 9:30 PM on May 22, 2004


I'm really looking forward to getting the new album. It sounds more like spoken word and less garagey than the last album, which is a good thing in my mind. Skinner makes music with lyrics that I can actually relate to, unlike most other pop music (normally I prefer my music without lyrics), documenting the life of an alienated, twenty-something middle-class male skillfully and humorously.
posted by Onanist at 9:43 PM on May 22, 2004


'he/she isn't trying to do X.' what are they trying to do, then?

Jeez, you're right. He doesn't fit an easy category. Time to stop listening. If you think you're a state mate, you really are a state.
posted by yerfatma at 10:18 PM on May 22, 2004


I like The Streets! In fact, I ♥ the Streets. I think it does him a disservice to compare him to American rappers; it's just plain good.
posted by Lynsey at 11:17 PM on May 22, 2004


i'm really enjoying the new album alot. love 'get out of my house' especially. but a friend and i were both saying we couldnt tell what the grand 'concept' is here? a day in the life? innit.
posted by rollerball at 11:25 PM on May 22, 2004


Just glad to hear someone else knows about this
I'll be at the ATL show for sure
posted by Wizzle at 11:30 PM on May 22, 2004


I think it's worth noting that all of my hip-hop friends in the UK think that guy's a joke. I'm inclined to agree with them. When you put him up against actual musicians (and here I'm thinking of Roots Manuva or Skitz or Task Force or Jehst) it becomes pretty obvious what he is: fucking clown shoes.

I've got more love for Dizzee Rascal. "Round We Go" is fun, and "Jus' A Rascal" is a good party anthem, but his adolescent "would you like fries with that" delivery gets old after a few tracks.

Seriously, guys, you can do better than this. Mike Skinner is the UK's Wesley Willis - jibber jabber over tinny electronic beats. It's good for a laugh but that's about it.

Clown shoes.
posted by Coda at 11:59 PM on May 22, 2004


It's not about being a musician or anything. The guy is some urban poet, that is all. He tells it like it is.
posted by Sijeka at 4:27 AM on May 23, 2004


It's not bad, but if you want 'real' UK hip hop/electronic, pick DJ Yoda, DJ Format, Lionel Vinyl or anyone on the Spymania label.

I had the misfortune of seeing DJ Format a few weeks ago. He simply played some records, records with scratching actually in them. It was shite. Yah get meh?
posted by ed\26h at 6:03 AM on May 23, 2004


I think it's worth noting that all of my hip-hop friends in the UK think that guy's a joke

You seem to be implying that has some authority. Would it mean less if they were French hip-hop friends or how about English Garage friends?

A couple of the critics disagree with your friends - Q and Uncut both gave the album 5 stars. Not that their views mean everything either.
posted by meech at 6:17 AM on May 23, 2004


I don't know. I just can't tell myself that this album is anywhere near as good as the first. Some tracks on the first album, like "Geezers Need Excitement" and "Irony of it all", do feature amazing lyrics and really good vocal delivery.

This album just doesn't seem to carry the same weight. It might have been good, I just get the impression Skinner rushed it out a bit quickly - it isn't polished in the places it needs to be. He's shown, in my opinion, that he can rap in his own unique style, but he just hasn't bothered to show that on "A grand don't come for free".

I'm hoping for good things in the future, though. Hopefully this is..the difficult seccond album.
posted by Jimbob at 6:49 AM on May 23, 2004


Skinner's the Ian Dury of this century. With a lot more drugs.
posted by prolific at 9:33 AM on May 23, 2004


Great comparison, prolific. One that I'd never considered, but completely fits.

I'd rather have people criticising Skinner for 'not rapping properly' than suggesting that he was just trying and failing to imitate black Americans. (Then again, there's a certain satisfaction when yer man Craig David makes it abroad, and isn't treated as a foreign imitator.)
posted by riviera at 10:51 AM on May 23, 2004


years.what are they trying to do, then?

make art.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:33 PM on May 23, 2004


wackybrit - theres a version on the CD single which has a live band in it....can't remember the name of the mix...mail me and I'll find it when i get home
posted by mattr at 7:46 AM on May 24, 2004


Lyrically the first album was fantastic, the start of "Too Much Brandy" always makes me smile. I went to the debut gig a couple of years ago not expecting very much, but it turned out far better organized than I had imagined, "Let's Push Things Forward" melting into "Ghost Town" was one of the highlights.

The Dizzee album I can take or leave, except for "I Luv U", the boy/girl call and response kicks ass.
posted by hippyboy at 8:11 AM on May 24, 2004


I really like this album. It tells a story and happens to have one of the most gut-wrenching rap songs (Dry Your Eyes) ever. If you have ever found yourself in a relationship that needed to end, this describes that last conversation perfectly.

Now if I could just get an english-to-english dictionary to find out what a spliff is and why you would roast it...
posted by urlnotfound at 8:54 AM on May 24, 2004


Was The Streets in Spin's "Emo Rap" article? Because the last two tracks on "A Grand Don't Come for Free" are the most "emo" songs I've heard in a long time.
posted by hughbot at 1:10 PM on May 25, 2004


The crazy over-the-top guitar version of "Fit But You Know It" is a remix by (or just a different version featuring) The Futureheads. The hysterical vocals in the chorus are just minted.
posted by guy_parsons at 6:24 PM on May 27, 2004


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