Yoshi Kato of the Contra Costa Times reviewed The Streets show March 14th at Bimbo’s in San Francisco. Kato writes, “The strongest songs of the night were when The Streets were in dance music mode, with the trio stretching out on longer passages and Skinner and his MC/vocalist sidekick Kevin Mark Trail acting as omniscient Chorus figures. It was reminiscent of Tricky’s contributions on the first Massive Attack album or Maxi Jazz’s work with Faithless, in the sense that solid instrumental arrangements played against deft vocal presentations.”
Mike Skinner’s street-level perspective is about being young, bored, and restless. A nation of unemployed Brits can readily relate to the lyric ”sex, drugs, and on the dole.” He told Christopher Muther of the Boston Globe, ”There was this void. The stuff that I’m doing, this kind of storytelling, it was something that needed to be done. And it happened to be that I was the one who did it.”
Dave Wedge of the Boston Herald reviewed The Streets concert at Paradise on Thursday night, giving Mike Skinner high marks. Wedge writes, “Dressed in a grandpa sweater and scally cap, Skinner said little to the diverse crowd between tracks, choosing instead to let his music do the communicating. Raised north of London in England’s underground rave and ‘garage’ scene, his musical roots are clear and inject refreshing life into the sometimes stagnant world of commercial rap. His stellar live show further cements him as an emerging musical force.”
Phil Sutcliffe of the Los Angeles Times profiled UK hip hop acts The Streets (aka Mike Skinner) and Ms Dynamite. Skinner says, “My earliest memory is rap music — listening to my brothers’ Beastie Boys and Run-DMC albums and trying to make my own hip-hop tracks on a very cheap computer/tape recorder in my bedroom. The rhymes were like, ‘I had a cat, it was fat, I wore a hat.’ But I always knew I was going to be doing this.”
Maureen Ryan of Metromix reviewed The Streets aka Mike Skinner’s show at Metro on Monday night. Ryan writes, “Skinner’s lyrics have more wit and wisdom than those of your average ‘pass the Courvoisier’ emcee, and with a top-flight band backing him, his music finally had the musical depth it deserved. ‘Original Pirate Material’s’ homemade sound helped create a feeling of morning-after intimacy, but Skinner was wise to perform live with real musicians rather than rap over an impersonal backing track.”
MuchMusic spoke to Mike Skinner of The Streets in Los Angeles, where he was eager to share his philosophical take on the impending conflict with Iraq. “I think it’s quite dangerous to have an opinion on this now,” said Skinner. “Just because America’s the most powerful nation and their foreign policy’s sh**ty doesn’t mean that every other powerful nation in history wasn’t like that anyway. The Romans were just as bad and we were pretty crappy really, weren’t we?” Asked about Tony Blair’s role, Skinner said, ” I think he just made a decision at the start that he can’t back out of. After 9-11 and all that he just made a decision to stand by the Americans and I think he thought England would do really well out of that. But we certainly pissed the Germans off.”
Will the average American rap fan really get what The Streets ‘Original Pirate Material’ is all about? Mike Skinner has his doubts. “I think anything above what I’ve achieved in my own country is a bonus. I don’t think most Americans want to hear anything but Americans, you know what I mean?” he tells Launch.com with his characteristic frankness. “That’s the impression that I get, anyway. Everything has been done in America, so no one in America expects to see anything outside of America. And the less British music that Americans hear, the more weird it sounds to them, y’know? I think America is quite conservative, so I’m not expecting anything.”
Aidin Vaziri of The San Francisco Chronicle caught up with Mike Skinner, aka the Streets, and asked the English rapper if he thought it was kind of egotistical to rap about himself so much. “I don’t think what I’m doing is arrogant,” he said. “If you’re telling a story, you have to tell it from your perspective. That’s just the way I’m telling my stories. It’s not like, ‘Hey, look at me. I’m great’.” Read his Q&A here.
Ms Dynamite and The Streets (aka Mike Skinner) led the pack in picking up four nominations each for this year’s Brit Awards. Other rap stars getting nods were So Solid Crew and Eminem.. Check out all the nominees for the February 20th awards to be held at Earls Court in London here.
The Sun reports The Streets, aka Mike Skinner, is set to get at least four nominations at the Brit Awards ceremony in February. Early indications show he will be up for gongs including Best Newcomer, Best Album and Best Male. Nominations are put together by a panel of industry experts but some categories have yet to be decided as they are open to public vote.