THE STREETS Original Pirate Material (Locked On/Warner) Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
One of the complaints about international hiphop is that it slavishly apes American fashion, with London MCs rhyming about gunplay like they're from Brooklyn, not Brixton. No chance of that on Original Pirate Material. Over bucking breaks and unsettling garage beats that spring from somewhere between the Wu mansion and a Kingston dancehall, MC Mike Skinner, aka The Streets, rattles on about nights out with the lads, weed psychosis, scraping to pay for a pint and general urban mayhem in an accent thick as marmite. For those able to catch the references, Original Pirate Material is as much comedy as commentary, brutally honest, sidesplittingly funny and occasionally quite poignant. Skinner's ease with language and unpolished street smarts make this that rarest of dance albums, one that repays repeated listens.