The central allure of The Streets' critically lauded debut rap album, Original Pirate Material, is frontman (only man, actually) Mike Skinner's simply hilarious lyrics uttered in the Briton's drab cockney dialect.
Terms like "geezers" and "oi" serve as welcome, if only temporary, respite from the "niggaz" and "yo"s of American hip-hop; and Skinner's tales of penny-pinching, brandy-swilling suburban tomfoolery pop P. Diddy's bling balloon as well.
But if there is one thing lacking on Pirate Material, it is -- as groove impresario Justin Timberlake would put it -- "that ass shakin' thing you do." Skinner's rudimentary beats typically serve as little more than background noise for his witticisms. Pirate is sit-down, smoke-blunts, listen-and-laugh fodder -- not the stuff of dance halls.
This sedentary state of physical affairs continues to prevail on the first half of All Got Our Runnins, an eight-song mini-album available exclusively on the Internet. But come track six, a remix of Pirate's "Weak Become Heroes," a new Skinner emerges. He's still a brandy-swillin' suburban stoner, no doubt, but it appears as though homeboy now wants to get loose a li'l bit with the birds and geezers. How refreshing: a Streets track that can actually be played in a club that favors two-step or house, genres that Skinner owes a far greater debt to than hip-hop.
Taken whole, All Got Our Runnins is Streets music that may finally satisfy the synthetic drug set. Perhaps this is why Skinner has been parading in front of cameras of late in a T-shirt that reads "Give Me Coke." We assume he's not talking about the brown fizzy stuff, either.