Review #60: (Classic Album) The Streets – Original Pirate Material

Artist – The Streets
Album – Original Pirate Material

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The Streets are Hip-Hop/Garage group from Birmingham, UK. Primarily run by lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mike Skinner, the group tend to write situational music, songs/lyrics which reflect their current situation. The Streets currently have 6 full albums out, which includes the very popular ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ featuring ‘Dry Your Eyes’ and ‘Fit But You Know It’, also this reviews focus ‘Original Pirate Material’.

I’m not necessarily sure how much of a “classic album” this is internationally, but for many in the UK this album has stood the test of time. Just as the previously reviewed “Whatever People Say …” by Arctic Monkeys spoke to a generation of late teen to twenty something’s at a personal level, this album did the same, but a few years before. Original Pirate Material mixed the life of a young British male in lyric form with the music they were growing up on. We go from ska to electronic, rap to funk with each song, written in interesting and experimental ways, rather like samples than a fully fleshed out ska track. The lyrics then also range widely, focusing on the subjects of partying, women (but in less of a romantic way) and the arguments of whether weed is harmful. Lead vocalist Mike Skinner doesn’t try to change or cover up his accent like many UK rappers/vocalist, he rather uses it fully to connect with his audience and uses phrases/slang that only a few many understand.

Original Pirate Material for me is up there with ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and ‘Nevermind’ in terms of classic albums. Maybe it doesn’t have the hit songs that everyone knows, but its social impact and collection of interesting, innovative music easily makes it a classic. Everybody should listen to this album, especially those from the UK, as there is still something for us to connect to.

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