The Hardest Way to Make An Easy Living

While material was originally pirated and a grand didn't come for free, Mike Skinner returns with his trademark high jinks drenched in a more honest, lyrically elevated fashion with The Hardest Way to Make An Easy Living. For the past two albums, A Grand Don't Come For Free (2004) and Original Pirate Material (2002), The Streets delivered raging, bipolar antics fixated between shagg-adelic times, drink-til-dawn rebellion and soft, reflective defeatism. Not that anything has changed (except, well, becoming world famous in the span of three years), but the latest record cleans up well, offering a polished version of the lad that has been referred to as Britain's Eminem or "answer to Ray Davies."

The new project features gems such as "Hotel Expressionism," a sophisticated roundup that declares the "fine art" of luxury, while the highlighted first single, "When You Wasn't Famous," expresses a ruckus of what it's like to mingle with the opposite sex amidst stardom. "War of the Sexes" then illustrates the double standard between genders. As a matured playmaker in the white rap game, The Hardest Way to Make An Easy Living sets a new standard for Skinner without eliminating his raw make. Perhaps such elimination is possible, but why would we want to do that?

The Streets

The Hardest Way to Make An Easy Living