This article has appeared in various editions of whatsonuk. From the tabloid to the festival guide. I’m still very proud of it. For me it was when I started to play around with form and style to try and emulate (or I as I later coined it, Blowback) the experience of chatting to and creating with the artist. In this case Mike Skinner, just before the fame really hit.
On the phenomenom known as The Streets
Building ruff beats and rhymes to move minds and feet
A cheeky Brummie geezer, crowd pleaser, he can squeeze the – inspiration from the everyday in a twisted way. With verbal darts from the heart to rip the charts apart, the upstart has got his blag to a fine art. A new star for the muzik mags to celebrate. The consensus, he’s great, taking a stand in this wasteland. Dance music’s saviour? Just a raver with a plan, a young man in the right place at the right time. A kid staying true to the life that he leads, told in rhyme.
‘I wanted to keep it real. Though not in an Ali G way. Garage bling tends to be a fantasy thing. Jus’ wanted to do it for the people see? I don’t care about booty, the Audi and shirts by Gucci.’
You light your smoke and take a toke, sit back and recline and his verbals are blowing your mind, there’s a mad joke. A compulsive ill rhymer. No SMTV mimer. A blagger? A faker? For sure a money maker. A prophet? A poet? A star and u know it. He can flow and watch his bank account grow, but will he blow it?
‘I like to look mean, nothing but designer jeans. Safe ‘n’ sound I’ve got 20 pairs of trainers at 130 pounds.’
Wait a minute now Mike you’re contradicting yourself. That’s alright though, new wealth can sometimes affect your mental health.
‘Oi. It’s a protection thing you know? I didn’t always have enough dough. If people look at me and go ‘Geezer knows ‘is game’ it ain’t about the fame.’
Back on the street and feelin’ the heat and which streets are these? Not the same as Asher Ds.
‘It would have slotted in better, if I was Black see and from Hackney but I’m not so don’t criticise me. I’m suburban not inner city but these are English streets spittin’ all across Britain, not just
London and Brixton. I’m saying lets break free.’
Original Pirate Material coming down your aerial. Tuned into the radio. Hear your heroes in Stereo, information overload, on it goes, knowledge grows, lyrical information flows, then into the studios.
‘I’ve spent a lot of time getting it right and now it’s perfect. Like brandy, maybe you haven’t acquired a taste for it. You see people aren’t against you. They don’t care whether you’re there. You’ve got to get in their faces, tell ‘em what rings true… oh yeah and be bad too.’
Check 1-2. Loud and clear, speak your mind, no hate, no fear a mirror to your life inside, now Internet broadcast worldwide. Take it from your bedroom, be real but be true to you.
‘I’m wise but I don’t mean to patronise. I’m not taking the piss, it’s deadly serious, don’t diss. Well I take the piss out of me, so others can’t. That’s it.’
With wordplay not gunplay, they slay all in their way. Beating the rest respecting those who wan test. To the biters and haters it’s laters, jah bless’d.
‘But I don’t try and have a message. I don’t try and preach. I just want to be entertaining and honest.’ The Streets.