The Streets (a.k.a. Mike Skinner) has taken American hip-hop and diced it up with a myriad influences, including drum & bass, garage, pop, and house to create what NME has called "the future of dance music." With his very first full-length, Original Pirate Material, Skinner has created a modern masterpiece worthy of praise from both the critics and the "streets." This stunning album, which deals simply with "a day in the life of a geezer," is without question, one of the most imaginative and innovative albums of the year. Its nomination for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize confirms that fact. Skinner "keeps it real" throughout the album, proudly letting his gentle Birmingham accent shine through with stunning brilliance while popping off about drugs, booze, love, sex, politics, video games, and of course, music.
Skinner thankfully doesn't rhyme at blazing speeds or bore his fans with tales of bling blinging goodness. Instead, he shows a masterful understanding of phrasing, as his deep, witty, and sometimes-hilarious lyrics dance in and out of beats with technical precision. Songs like "Has It Come To This?," "Too Much Brandy," "Don't Mug Yourself," and the first US single "Let's Push Things Forward, can blow away almost anything American hip-hop/dance has to offer. Not bad for a 22-year-old white kid from the UK.