Recordings: The Streets – The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living

    Rappers tend to take themselves too seriously, but thankfully Mike Skinner (better known as the Streets) isn’t afraid to represent his lack of street cred by spawning self-deprecating lyrics. The Birmingham-based MC cheekily rhymes about the monotony of his daily life (he has dedicated entire songs to describing text messaging and returning DVDs) and his frivolous lyrical style is fully intact on the Streets’ latest album, The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living.

    Recordings: The Streets – The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living

    Skinner’s debut record, Original Pirate Material, premiered his ultra-literal lyrics and infectious beats, and in his sophomore album, A Grand Don’t Come for Free, he pared down his writing even more to tell a Guy Ritchie film-worthy parable about a bloke who loses a thousand quid.

    Skinner’s latest similarly features metaphor-free rhymes, but this time he hilariously takes a jab at his own burgeoning celebrity status. He unselfconsciously raps about trashing hotel rooms, banging groupies and the woes of doing a line in public.

    There are a few snazzy tracks on Hardest Way, such as “Can’t Con an Honest John,” but it’s not as consistently catchy as Skinner’s previous albums. Plus, corny slow songs like “Never Went to Church” sound just like Boyz II Men rip-offs.

    Hardcore rap fans might be turned off by Skinner’s Oliver Twist-y cockney drawl and silly rhymes — his mediocre rapping skill doesn’t help either (it sounds more like he’s having a conversation than spittin’ prose). But Skinner is a comedian, not a poet, and he’s the first person to admit it.

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