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The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living

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Album Review

Apparently, success has spoiled Mike Skinner. It's a common problem among artists who are also working-class social critics: if they become successful, it's increasingly difficult to go back to the well when everything they've used for material changes drastically — friends and lovers, home life, work life, and social life. The wallflower who could study his subjects for hours suddenly lacks for good material when he's the center of attention. Instead of attempting the charade of being a working-class chronicle, he's moved on to the types of problems that come with celebrity, including trashed hotel rooms ("I make these crap rap rhythms to pay the hotel bills that fund my passion"), isolation and loneliness ("I got nothing in my life away from the studio"), fake Streets hats ("Fake Streets Hats"), and the other vagaries of fame ("Camera phones — how the hell am I supposed to be able to do a line in front of complete strangers, when I know they've all got cameras?"). So, are these Skinner's sincere reflections on his surroundings and an artistic statement he's proud of, or are they the result of a parodic persona he's assumed, with its requisite shroud of satire? That's a difficult question (despite Skinner's own assurances that he's sincere), primarily because of all the cynicism, paranoia, misanthropy, and betrayal on this record. Humility has been replaced by arrogance, reflection by anger, and humor by sullenness. The production has changed little from the last record — hard-hitting, synth-based productions with minimalist melodies and tough, clanging percussion, except for the occasional piano-based ballad. Skinner's lyrics are striking and distinctive as before, but it's difficult to believe this is the same artist who confronted a stereotypical lager lout named Terry on his first album, a track titled "The Irony of It All." The irony here is that Skinner sounds more like the lout.

Customer Reviews

Bloody good

Mike Skinner keeps his classic sound, while becoming a bit more mainstream. Unlike Matisyahu with "Youth", the Streets are not a sell-out. The album still tells a story and has hilarious parts. The verses still flow flawlessly and the rhymes are smooth. I wouldn't say it's as good as "a grand don't come for free" but it comes close. The album is also a bit short at under 40 minutes. If you don't buy the album, get The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living, and When You Wasn't Famous. Also check out songs on "a grand don't come for free."

Another Great Album!

This album has everything an album needs and deserves to have, great beats and stories along with obvious musical talent. The Streets has a great way of making rap tell true stories about life and the rhymes don't sound forced. Sometimes he does not ryhme his lyrics but it does not make the lyrical 'bar' sound bad or uneven. He has a great way of relating to everyday struggles without talking about degrading women. His english accent is slightly harsh sounding but is still very easily understood. Buy this album now.

If You Get Hammered You Don't Get To Nail

Top Notch music here. Buy it. You won't be disappointed. Matter-of-fact buy all the Streets cd's. Mike Skinner is a lyrical genius. Not your run of the mill rap, so all you gangsta rap fans will probably hate this, that said if you do like off the cuff music you will like this. Get it, listen to it, be amazed!


Born: November 27, 1978 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Mike Skinner's recordings as the Streets marked the first attempt to add a degree of social commentary to Britain's party-hearty garage/2-step (and later grime) movement. Skinner, a Birmingham native who later ventured to the capital, was an outsider in the garage scene, though his initial recordings appeared on Locked On, the premiere source for speed garage and, later, 2-step from 1998 to the end of the millennium. He spent time growing up in North London as well as Birmingham, and listened first...
Full Bio
The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living, The Streets
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Hip-Hop/Rap, Music, Dance, House, Rap, Rock
  • Released: Apr 10, 2006

Customer Ratings

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