The Streets- Original Pirate Music
"When I first heard a bit of this album it really was a “what the heck is that?” moment. A guy not rapping, not singing, sort of talking, sort of reciting poetry, telling stories? The background is a mixture of orchestral strings, synths, drum machines switched onto beats, broken beats and steady recognisable tunes.
I wasn't sure what to make of it but it was intriguing. So you find out a bit more, a recording emerging out of the UK Garage scene which explained the beats, but there was this layer of lyrics calling out the experience of a twenty-something and talking about their interests and perception of life. All done in voice which was readily recognisable and a world away from the American rapper style.
This is not an aspirational series of tales, this is gritty street-level, possibly documenting a sense of boredom and lack of opportunity. As such it was refreshing breath of air, from the music business that was hurtling towards blandness and repetition.
Twenty years on….it still sounds fabulous”.
When I was living in Dublin I heard this and it made me nostalgic for Birmingham.
It wasn't until I was older, in my early thirties, that the significance of the album hit me, with the line in "Weak Become Heroes" that goes; "Then the girl in the cafe tape me on the shoulder, I realise five years went by and I'm older, Memories smoulder, winter's colder, But the same piano loops over and over and over." It's a testament to the timetraveling power of music that a piano loop can transport you to a time in your past, and for a daydreaming minute you're there again.
Lee Satchel went to school with my friend who went to school with Mike Skinner. He says he was always chasing the birds and fighting the geezers. He was a bit of a "barstard" by all accounts.