Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Quality cockney Rap from The Streets

I often find I can’t tell some musicians are British when they sing. It’s only later when I hear them speaking in an interview that I realize they’re Brits. Not so with British rapper Mike Skinner and his outfit, The Streets. His rap is delivered not with urban American speech patterns and accents, but with a cockney drawl and lots of slang I‘m only vaguely sure I understand.

"This is my zone, so stop clonin'..."

"This is my zone, so stop clonin'..."

He had some modest success with his first album, Original Pirate Material. The single, Has It Come to This, was a minor hit and there are several other good tracks on it. I was unprepared for how great his sophomore effort would be.

A Grand Don’t Come for Free is a fully realized concept album that explores issues of trust in love and friendship. One thousand pounds has gone missing from his apartment with all his friends sitting around. About the same time, he meets a woman and falls in love…maybe.

Some of the tracks use very simple — almost childish — melodies.  But the maturity of the themes, the inventiveness of the rhymes and the music, and the continuity of the story make this album flow. I left this disc in my player for a couple weeks.

Check out these songs, but I urge you to get the whole release. The story is interesting, brilliantly told, and ultimately hopeful.

  • Could Well Be In – Mike meets the girl. I’m a sucker for this kind of uplifting chord progression.
  • Blinded By the Lights – A sparse arrangement of percussion, simple keyboards, and vocal harmonies. Mike takes too much LSD and trips out in a nightclub while waiting for his friends who seem to have flaked on him.
  • Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way – Ah, the love song. This one is about how he loves getting stoned on the couch with his girlfriend.
  • Fit But You Know It – A punk backbeat is the backdrop for Mike’s (mis)adventures hitting on women in bars.

If you like this, you might like his latest album, Everything Is Borrowed.



March 4, 2009 - Posted by | Hip Hop

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