Music

A Grand Don't Come For Free That the Streets -- the nom de rap of British recording artist Mike Skinner -- has zero street cred is no surprise. To listeners accustomed to...A Grand Don't Come For FreeHip-Hop/Rap That the Streets -- the nom de rap of British recording artist Mike Skinner -- has zero street cred is no surprise. To listeners accustomed to...2004-05-21
The Streets

(The Streets: Michael Schmelling/Retna)

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A Grand Don't Come For Free

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap; Lead Performer: The Streets; Producer (group): Atlantic, Vice Records; Status: In Season

That the Streets – the nom de rap of British recording artist Mike Skinner – has zero street cred is no surprise. To listeners accustomed to American rap’s bombast, boasts, and bling bling, Skinner’s Tinkertoy beats and po’-mouthed rhymes must seem slight indeed. A Grand Don’t Come for Free, the follow-up to Skinner’s acclaimed debut, 2002’s ”Original Pirate Material,” isn’t likely to convert, say, your average Jay-Z fan. It sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom by a kid with too much free time – which it pretty much was. Spinning tales ripped from the minutiae of his life (subjects include gambling, drinking, and fighting with a girlfriend), Skinner is like an unabashed, fuzzy-minded slacker. ”All I seem to do is sit in this habitat/Just roachin’ a spliff, watchin’ the TV, and that,” he rap-mutters on ”I Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way.” Yet it works, and even seems refreshingly exotic (chalk it up to the dead-simple but catchy melodies and that Cockney-rap ”je ne sais quoi”). Skinner’s sketchily produced ditties may never be big in the hood, but his fans probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

Originally posted May 21 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT

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