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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

A Grand Don't Come For Free

The Streets

2004

A Grand Don't Come For Free

Album Summary

A Grand Don't Come for Free is the second studio album by English rapper and producer Mike Skinner, under the music project the Streets. It was released on 17 May 2004 and is listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. It is a rap opera and concept album that follows the story of its protagonist's relationship with a girl named Simone, alongside the mysterious loss of £1,000 from his home (the eponymous "grand").

Wikipedia

Rating

2.87

Votes

4708

Genres

  • Hip Hop
Reviews
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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

I knew, before I'd hit play, that I'd give this one a 5. I love The Streets so much. This album, along with Original Pirate Material and The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living were on regular rotation in my car in the late aughts. The delivery is aggressively conversational, the lyrics deliver a beautifully sharp narrative, and the sparse beats provide the perfect bed for the vocal performance. I just... I just love The Streets. I just do.

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

Tis good. Cool to hear hints of early dub-step in the background. You can tell this album really set the stage for a lot of music that followed it.

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Tue Apr 13 2021
2

A cool concept, but honestly so much of the album was just annoying, both the whining and the rapping and beats themselves. I like the idea of the album far more than the execution.

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Mon Oct 19 2020
5

One of most British things I have heard, but it is fantastic!

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Wed Feb 02 2022
4

As far as concept albums go, this one's a keeper. And it's a U.K. rap/grime concept album, to boot! My only minor reproach is that there are a few underwhelming tracks where the overall narrative takes over the music itself in terms of priority, especially towards the middle. But fortunately, this is not the case on the records' highlights. "It Was Supposed To Be Easy" is a striking opener, Mike Skinner's heavily accented yet clear-as-a-bell lad's voice doing wonders to set up the table and introduce the story *in media res*, as in most great short stories or novels. "Blinded By The Lights" is one of the best depictions of a drunken night ever penned this side of the pond--it's slow pace swaying you into the narrator's hallucinory state of mind as if you were there in that sleazy club with him. Far more straightforward, "Fit But You Know It" is a snarly hit with a catchy rock guitar sample. And "Dry Your Eyes" and "Empty Cans" end the yarn with the right amount of emotions, the latter even serving as a morality tale of sorts about free will and redemption. The strings arrangements on those two last tracks are very subtle, too. They're not strings for Hollywood stuff, they're strings for Mike Leigh or Ken Loach. Which is fitting here. As usual for those five or four-star reviews, I won't add much to what has already been written out there about this particular album. I even fear that I've spoiled the story a little with what I've written so far. But beyond that spoiler alert, what I found really interesting about this sophomore effort is that it was a different way for Skinner to depict that working class world he had already brilliantly explored in *Original Pirate Material*. Here this world of lads, lasses and geezers is viewed through the lens of a particular narrative, and such storytelling ambition often feels earned. Because Skinner keeps it sharp and simple, right as it should be given the topics he chose to deal with. It's a story about characters having mundane challenges in their social and love lives--characters having money issues, passing deluded thoughts and self-denial phases, not to mention addictions that might turn from a minor problem to a major one if left unchecked. But mostly, it's a story about simple folks. It's a rap opera, yes. But it's a rap opera about us as a people. [Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 982 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 8 (including this one--but only on the condition there's room for *Original Pirate Material*, too) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 6 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (as I think many others are more important): 4 Albums on which I feel my judgment is muddled by my past forays into specific genres instead of others (some might end up on my final list if they're culturally important): 1]

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Thu Mar 04 2021
3

Interesting as a concept but not as good as Original Pirate Material.

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Fri May 14 2021
5

The mile skinner concept album. Absolutely superb; it was supposed to be so eeeeeaaassssyyyy!

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Wed Sep 16 2020
5

Great album

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Tue Jun 15 2021
5

Awesome.

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Fri Apr 02 2021
5

Lose a bag of money: try to gamble on soccer to win it back. Go to pub and do drugs Get stoned with girlfriend and watch tv, get in row with girlfriend, go to pub and try to pick up hot girl, insult her and get in fight. . ZThis album is pure gold.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
5

Se oli tonnin seteli. Maailma olisi parempi paikka, jos olisi enemmän tällaisia levyjä, missä kerrotaan tarina. Ja toimiviahan nämä biisit on ihan yksittäisinäkin, mutta koko levyn tarinan suhteen odottaa kappale kappeelta, mitä seuraavaksi tapahtuu. Levy, mihin takuulla palaan. 4,5 --> 5.

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Thu May 20 2021
5

4.5 afgerond naar vijf. Nooit gedacht dat ik dit zo leuk zou vinden. De betere vorm van rap. Een paar keer extra luisteren om het hele verhaal mee te hebben zal sowieso dit album nog beter maken.

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Thu May 20 2021
5

MEESTERLIJK

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Wed Jun 09 2021
5

This was a favorite of mine back in college. Haven't listened to it in years and was surprised to see it on this list! I enjoyed it just as much as back then. I love how the lyrics form an overarching story, and is generally pretty humorous.

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Sun May 16 2021
5

Fucking killer album. Saw him live at a festival when this came out and It was great. Still sing along with the accent.

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Tue May 18 2021
5

One of my all time favourite

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Wed Sep 08 2021
5

Äntligen The Streets! Mike Skinners projekt har funnits i min periferi länge, utan att jag har kommit för mig att ge mig in i ett album. Så det var med stora förhoppningar jag gav mig in i detta projekt. Mina förhoppningar möttes. A Grand Don't Come For Free är ett konceptalbum som följer berättarjaget Mike. I It Was Supposed to Be So Easy beskrivs hur Mike har en riktig pissdag då det mesta går fel, och den slutar med att han tappar bort 1000 pund som han haft liggandes bredvid sin trasiga TV. Vi får sedan följa Mike tiden efter denna dag, som satte stort spår, för du vet, A Grand Don't Come For Free. Mike träffar Simone, som jobbar med kompisen Dan (Could Well Be In). De blir tillsammans, men bråkar. På semester är Mike otrogen mot Simone. Väl hemma är Simone själv otrogen mot Mike med Dan. Mike blir sedemera dumpad av Simone, vilket avhandlas i låten Dry Your Eyes, en vacker och extremt sorglig beskrivning av ett break-up. I Blinded by the Lights ska Mike träffa Simone och Dan på en nattklubb, men de kommer aldrig. I låten går Mike runt och är nojjig på klubben, poppar piller, och blir allt mer berusad tills han till sist inte bryr sig om vad Simone och Dan gör, cuz' there's a tune coming in. Låten kan vara den bästa som någonsin gjorts. Den får mig att vilja bli full, festa, ta droger, ha relationer, men är samtidigt fylld med stor sorg och vemod, som skiner igenom i den fan-tastiska produktionen. Skivan avslutas, och berättelsen kulmineras, med Empty Cans, en låt som bättre än någon annan demonstrerar Mike Skinners berättartalang. Den berättar två alternativa slut på historien. Först, en bitter Mike som skyller alla hans problem på andra ("It's not my fault there's wall-to-wall empty cans"). När en kille kommer för att reparera tv:n misstänker Mike att han håller på att bli blåst, och de börjar slåss, innan tv-reparatören springer ut ur lägenheten och Mike kan fortsätta dricka i ensamhet. Låten tar sedan lyssnaren tillbaks till samma scenario, där Mike sitter ensam och dricker, men med annan inställning ("It's all my fault there's wall-to-wall empty cans"). I denna versionen kommer kompisen Scott och lagar tv:n, och hittar i processen Mikes 1000 pund. Mike rycker upp sig, och kommer till insikten att endast han själv kan ta tag i sitt liv. Kompisar, familj, kanske kan hjälpa dig på vägen, men i slutändan är du ensam ansvarig över vilka vägar du tar i livet: "Or maybe it's that I realised that it is true No-one's really there fighting for you in the last garrison No-one except yourself that is, no-one except you You are the one who's got your back 'til the last deed's done Scott can't have my back 'til the absolute end 'Cause he's got to look out for what over his horizon He's gotta make sure he's not lonely, not broke It's enough to worry about keeping his own head above." The Streets va. Visst, vissa av låtarna kanske inte låter som world-beaters, och beatsen kanske är lite smutsiga. Men, det är en så äkta berättelse av en brittisk arbetarklasstillvaro att det är omöjligt att inte bli drabbad. Jag har en personlig dragning till brittisk fulkultur (fulla fotbollssupporters, skitiga pubar), så det är kanske inte konstigt att detta album tickar så många av mina boxar. Mike Skinners staccatoliknande rap är helt egen. Han spottar ren fakta mannen. Detta är en mall för hur konceptalbum som aspirerar att berätta en historia bör berätta den historien. Världsklass. Konst. The Streets är äkta. Bästa låt: Blinded by the Lights.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
5

Really interesting album, the style may be similar to Gorillaz, but it's completely different. There are several songs that took my attention. It contains miscellaneous music, but in general it's hip-hop. It's very melodic and independent, that makes it interesting.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Love this album - the best concept album of the decade.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

It's been a while since I listened to this album, but I'm falling in love with it all over again. Great beats and electronics, rap/spoken word with a nice flow, entertaining lyrics, and sometimes it gets quite moving. Really enjoyed this from start to finish.

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Wed Nov 24 2021
5

Love this album

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

Lovely bit of Brit-Hop, he has his own style as a street poet and I love that he performs in his own accent. Love "I Could Well Be In" "Fit But You Know It" "Dry Your Eyes" of course. Lovely snapshots of Brit Life in the early part of the 21st century. If you like this you must also love Arab Strap, proper social commentary through music.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
5

This was unexpected. Really awesome!

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Sun Jan 23 2022
5

I love this album. The storytelling is amazing.

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Wed Jan 26 2022
5

It’s great. Although there is probably a fair bit of nostalgia related to that with this one.

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Thu Feb 24 2022
5

Grand 💵

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Thu Feb 24 2022
5

An absolute cracker from start to finish. The best thing Mike Skinner has done - untouchable

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Thu Feb 24 2022
5

One of my all time favourites. Superb.

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Fri Mar 04 2022
5

A fantastic companion piece to Arctic Monkeys' debut album. Every word feels perfectly chosen to draw out comedy or poignancy to the max. As a result, I really enjoy the repetition of phrases over and over again. A fantastic snapshot of early 2000s Britain, one to enjoy further in the future.

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Sun Mar 13 2022
5

When I started this I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it… and then it took me on a journey with a protagonist I am completely taken by. It may not seem like an epic journey - filled with mundane details as well as the highs and lows of a relationship of a stoner’s life in Britain - but by the end I was so emotionally involved that by the breakup in “Dry Your Eyes” I actually had to heed the advice myself. This is an absolutely wonderful album. I felt like my life changed a little today.

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Sun Mar 13 2022
5

This is a simple but compelling story performed as a rap opera in a Brummie dialect that would make anything charming to my American ears. I'm not super interested in listening to any single song as a stand-alone track. But the album as a whole is unique and provided me with a fascinating listening experience today. I really enjoyed it.

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Mon Apr 25 2022
5

this is hysterically bad technically British rap

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Thu May 19 2022
5

15th May 2022 Listened in the morning and finished at work. Gareth came round in the evening to chat about Kate. Mike skinner and the streets have what every artist is striving for- a sound which is unique that you know immediately is them. Tracks the course of a relationship, but adds grandeur as well as grounded realism.

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Mon May 30 2022
5

Loved it, loved the fact of a story throughout the entire album

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Thu Jul 21 2022
5

I fucking love this album. Never heard it before, but it speaks to me in so many ways. Obviously, it's got that British-angsty-goofy (but still melancholy) thing going for it. It's classic British story-telling too. It brought me the same level of joy I get from watching Snatch or Lock Stock and the rest of those brilliant movies. It's just so "every day / nothing special" but conveyed in a way that sucks you in. Plus, having the first song being about losing 1000 pounds and the last one about finding it gave a nice sense of closure - like I just lived through something with this guy. Love it.

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Wed Aug 10 2022
5

What an album. Honestly the true successor to Arthur by the Kinks, or The Wall by Pink Floyd, except much more grounded in "Guy loses some money, meets a girl while pilled up, cheats on her on a lads holiday, loses girl, descends in to bitter depression/realises he's lucky to have his friends and finds his money again (yes there are alternate endings)". It's fantastic, and that it can go from bawdy humour on Fit But You Know It, to heartbreaking on Dry Your Eyes, to fully dark on Empty Cans is fantastic. Mike Skinner never topped this or his first album, but the first two are both ESSENTIAL.

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Mon Sep 05 2022
5

Made me fall back in love with concept albums. Doesn't have the bedroom tunes raw power of the first album but this is music as storytelling and I love it.

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Wed Sep 21 2022
5

This album is Uber-cool for many reasons, not the least of which is that its best-known track is funny AF and I didn’t know that it was part of this rap opera opus. This album, like The Village Green by The Kinks or Different Class by Pulp, reflected British youth so dead-on in 2004. I want to give it 5 stars. It deserves 4.5 because not everything is a banger but it’s all so accurate. Aw, fuck it.

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Thu Oct 06 2022
5

Worst album ever every song just keeps getting worse

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Fri Oct 21 2022
5

Absolutely amazing storytelling in a stunning way

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Thu Dec 01 2022
5

Well, this is one of those albums that will undoubtedly be lost on anyone who's not from the UK. I think it has a setting and subject matter that just plainly won't make too much sense to people elsewhere in the world, and I suspect that's why the global rating on this one is quite low. While I really like The Streets, I hadn't listened to this in its entirety before, though I'd certainly heard almost every song, just out of order. I'm generally a little more familiar with Original Pirate Material, and Has It Come To This? remains my favourite song of Skinner's. I was just a child when this was released, so I was far too young to understand or appreciate anything of this album, and that's why I was honestly totally caught by surprise to discover that this was a rap-opera concept album. It was clear that every song I'd heard before had a story to tell, but I never realised that they all went together to form an entire tale. Mike Skinner just has a way with words, lyricism and music production that makes the whole thing just excellent, both as a compelling story to follow and an album of absolute bangers. It's not just a good rap album with some bangers though, I feel it really did push the bar in some cases, with elements of early dubstep in Blinded by the Lights. I promise I'll eventually stop rambling, but I felt that I needed to give Empty Cans an honourable mention. While it's not really my favourite *song* on the album, it's definitely my favourite parts of the wider story. I really liked how it essentially had a bad ending and a good ending in the form of basically two tracks that start exactly the same and branch off in two directions, leaving the true ending up to the listener. Overall it's an amazing album and I definitely want to seek out more concept albums now. It's worth noting that I am EXTREMELY biased, due to being just about as British as this album. Favourite: Blinded By The Lights

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Fri Oct 16 2020
4

Very fun, very catchy, I like operas and I love rap. Great story. Standout Tracks: Not Addicted, Blinded by the Lights, Get Out of My House, What Is He Thinking?, Dry Your Eyes

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

Great album, lots of middle school emo memories.

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Mon Jan 11 2021
4

Весьма оригинально и харизматично звучащий белый хип-хоп с английским шармом, броскими припевами и очень интересным, в некотором роде андерграундным продакшном, но не идеально. 8/10

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Thu May 20 2021
4

This was pretty weird at first but then I kinda came around to it. Like a British Eminem who just talk raps.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
4

Ensikosketus tähän Streetsin levyyn. Ihan ei pääse mainion Original Pirate Materialin tasolle, mutta varsin kelpo tapaus tämäkin. Tykkään Mike Skinnerin vahvalla brittiaksentilla vedetystä omaperäisestä tyylistä. Lyriikoiden kuuntelu jäi valitettavasti töitä tehdessä vähemmälle.

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Thu Feb 18 2021
4

Adorei o conceito de album que conta uma história, me fez ler todas as letras. Nenhuma das músicas é agradável o suficiente pra entrar na minha playlist, mas fui entretido!

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Wed Mar 31 2021
4

Actually super interesting. I did not expect to like this so much, but it's so creative! A fully-realized concept album, with a story thread and characters. Super fun and different.

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Thu May 27 2021
4

As a whole, it was really good

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Thu Mar 25 2021
4

Great UK hip hop, very unique

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Wed Jan 27 2021
4

dobrý beaty, i koncept

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

Melodic rap about a guy that goes to the ATM to withdraw some money but doesn't get home on time for tea with him mom...

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Sat Jul 10 2021
4

Yessssss 🙌 I have loved The Streets for YEARS. I love the Birmingham accent. I love the lingo. You don’t hear rap like this. The fact that this is a concept album or a “rap opera” is so unique. Simultaneously epic, and yet incredibly mundane. “Could Well Be In” and “Get Out of My House” are the big highlights, but the whole thing is a jam. That all being said, I think I still prefer Original Pirate Material or Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

it was a decent listen, even if I don't like the style that much.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
4

Es hip-hop, pero me ha gustado bastante.

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Wed Mar 10 2021
4

Toda una sorpresa. Divertido de escuchar y con buenos acordes y voz

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Tue Apr 13 2021
4

Honestly shocked that some grime made it in the list. Excellent album with some subpar mixing

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Wed Jun 23 2021
4

Always found it a bit over-rated but it's still a solid 3.5

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Tue May 04 2021
4

I liked it actually. A few good tracks but the album works well together as a narrative.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

english spoken word rap album? but its rock driving underneath? it was pretty interesting, but not very melodic. more story like, almost musical podcast short stories. nice change of pace for me personally, I may return to it someday.

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Fri Mar 12 2021
4

Does sound a bit dated, but still a clever album.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
4

Tää olikin hankala arvioitava. Ei mitään erityisiä hittibiisejä, mutta sitten taas olen toisaalta tällaisten teema-/tarinalevyjen ystävä. Ekalla kuuntelukerralla vasta levyn loppuvaiheessa hoksasin idean että nii tässähän oli tää kertoja ja samat pikkujutut kuten rikkoontunut telkkari toistuu biisistä toiseen. Tokalla kuuntelukerralla avautui paremmin, vaikka en vieläkään ihan täydellä ajatuksella seurannut juonta.

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Wed Mar 17 2021
4

I enjoy this album :)

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Thu May 20 2021
4

Had wat vrees hiervoor als ik de wiki las. Maar dit album heeft wel wat variatie, een sterke flow, een te begrijpen verhaal (als 'rap-opera'). Positief verrast. Al blijft het niet mijn genre

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Fri Feb 26 2021
4

Brilliant album, great story telling!!

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Fri Jun 18 2021
4

Richtig cooles Album, grade „Fit but You know it“! Lange nicht gehört, aber super!

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Sun Jun 13 2021
4

Cool album. British garage rap. Reminds me of some nerdcore stuff.

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Fri May 07 2021
4

I remember when this album came out and everyone wanted to be a geezer. What ever that is. I do like the story telling. The album follows Mike as he struggles with his relationship, gambling and being a 20 something britt on vacation. The production is kind of dated. Like the the snare sound on some tracks sound really wonky.

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Tue May 25 2021
4

Started low but got better

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Sun May 30 2021
4

I really like this album. Skinner is a great storyteller. Dry Your Eyes is a beautiful track. Blinded by the Lights is stunning.

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Sun Jul 18 2021
4

Me agrado bastante el concepto, no me había tocado saber de algún disco que te contara una historia ligando cada canción. Creo que fue lo que más me gustó. El rapeo no me agrado del todo pero la música estaba fresca.

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Fri Sep 24 2021
4

Finding a hip hop album I like is a rarity, so props to this guy.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

Very quirky British rap album. So much great slang in here, 'e's 'aving a laugh. Funny to think they'd include this as a rap album from 2004 and not Madvillainy, but I don't need to go there again. Anyway, this was enjoyable. Delivery was slightly off-kilter, but I think it works for a bloke like this. Interesting conceptually too. I can't say I was blown away, but overall it was very solid. Quite a few tracks I'll return to. Favorite tracks: Fit But You Know It, Get Out of My House, Could Well Be In, Dry Your Eyes. Album art: I like this one quite a bit, very cool picture and good color. I thought I was looking in a diner at first glance, but it's a bus stop. Are these the titular streets we're waiting on? 4/5

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Thu Oct 28 2021
4

Audio book, lol. I forgot I had even heard this before until that song about being fit came on. Somehow this thing works, doesn’t it? I kind of can’t imagine listening to more than this one album from this dude, but I quite enjoyed myself with it.

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Thu Oct 28 2021
4

This is another one I listened to a lot when it came out. Still holds up for me. It's sort of just on the right side of amateurish and I like the story.

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Sun Nov 07 2021
4

This shit is so British it's interesting. Lots of slang and language I don't super understand. It's cool, I'm not sure it's the best thing on the planet but it sounds like some early grime type stuff. Feels like something I would hear in Snatch or Long stock and two smoking barrels. It's telling a story for sure, one I don't know. Overall, It took a while to grow on me, but by the end I was into it.

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Sun Nov 14 2021
4

A nice surprise.

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Wed Dec 08 2021
4

3rd listen. First few times I heard this album, I thought it was just ok, but over time, during these past several months, I have grown to really enjoy the album. 4/5.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
4

Un bon concept pourun bon album .j’ai apprecie l’ecoutert je suis interresse par le band. 4.25

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Fri Jan 07 2022
4

Wasn't what I was expecting, but interesting hiphop story album.

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Fri Jan 14 2022
4

This is a sort of hip-hop opera,where all the songs being related by the story of a some lost money.(7/10) FT: Fit but You Know It, Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

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Sun Jan 16 2022
4

A Grand Don’t Come for Free by The Streets (2004) It had to happen. I wonder what took so long. This is rap opera. And it’s not bad. It has a plot. It has humor. It has closure. It has characters that develop and (petty) conflicts that resolve (barely). But it is hugely stunted in the relevance department. Not like Wagner. Not even like Rossini. More like a cross between Bizet and Berg. Yes, Carmen meets Wozzek! But what it lacks is high drama. At least Wozzek had World War I. And Carmen gets killed in the end (sorry if I ruined it for you). Nevertheless, I started this review thinking I was going to give it a “one” star. Then I read through the entire libretto (lyrics) and decided it merited a “two”. Then, as I listened throughout, I felt it deserved a “three”. And as the reverberation faded on the final note, I thought “Dude, this is a solid four”. I won’t spoil the storyline. But the protagonist is a kid, “Mike”, living the lowbrow culture of British proletarian youth. The antagonist is the lowbrow culture of British proletarian youth. You can see why this isn’t going anywhere. “Mike” experiences frustration, loss, love, betrayal, envy, trust, moods, drugs, turns of mis/fortune, and two endings! The dialog and personal reflections are full of vignettes that elaborate the setting, but to what end? Well, maybe self-reliance, but does that ring true? I’ll leave it to my readers with advanced degrees in philosophy. Rhythms are unconventional, and that’s a plus. Beats and melodic lines are unconvincing, but they do sustain interest, and there’s plenty of variety. I’ve never been high in a dance club, but if I had, I bet it would feel a lot like the vibe in “Blinded by the Lights”. And the mood of jealousy and suspicion is perfectly captured on “What Is He Thinking?” Listen to these two tracks and you might be tempted to listen to the whole album straight through. Mike Skinner’s voice is weak, and he lacks range (barely eking out the melody on “Get Out of My House”), but that doesn’t prevent him from giving plausibly authentic expression to the emotional responses of his character. It draws the listener in. Now the vocal support from ‘Leo the Lion’ is mellow and smooth, in fine R&B timbre (“Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way”). Other voices are sub par for a studio recording, but might have succeeded in a stage production (which I’d pay good money to see, if there ever were one). If you decide to listen to this album, do it without distractions and stay focused. There’s good art here. I’m gonna quit this now and listen to it again, if you’ll excuse me. 4/5

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Thu Jan 27 2022
4

Mike Skinner possesses a really distinctive flow and a uniquely British, working class take on millennial rap. While some of the beats and tracks have aged better than others, A Grand Don't Come for Free still holds together as a rap opera grounded in everyday concerns incredibly well. But in spite of its ambition, I think Original Pirate Material is ultimately the more essential Streets record. Favourite tracks: "Could Well Be In", "Blinded by the Lights", "Dry Your Eyes"

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Thu Jan 27 2022
4

This album was a nice surprise for me, having not heard of the Streets previously. It is a compelling record and is easy to get into repeated listens. The storytelling is great which requires more of a close listen than most albums. This is a well crafted concept album and an enjoyable and fun listen. Favorite songs are: "Dry Your Eyes", "Blinded By the Light", "Could Well be In" 4 out of 5.

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Sun Mar 06 2022
4

Lyrics 🏆

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Mon Mar 07 2022
4

A rap opera, concept album, whatever: a tale of losing £1000, finding and losing love, and living a mundane telly sofa life alongside the pill pub club scene in the early Ohs. Sounds dreadful, right? Wrong! Well, kind of right, but no - it's easy to follow unlike most story-based LPs, lots of humour and self-deprecation - and lots of crap, forced rhymes that stand out because of Skinner's deadpan, unsung, unmelodic delivery. And I liked that. Unpretentious, trying, lots of failing, just like the Mike in the story: shit but he knows it. And it works. Four stars well-earned.

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Thu Mar 10 2022
4

Was not feeling the album at first but by the end I was lovin it.

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Thu Apr 14 2022
4

Never knew that "Fit But You Know It" was part of some over arching drama concept album. Not one I'd want to listen to all the time but probably will come back to this one.

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Wed Apr 27 2022
4

The sound of my first year of grad school. It is a very unique sound and can sometimes be too much but I do generally enjoy Mike Skinner.

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Wed Apr 27 2022
4

First of all, I love these songs about nothing. Honestly half of these songs could be episodes of Seinfeld. All the songs are weirdly believable slices of life. In some ways, the album kind of reminds me of a Philip K. Dick novel, in that it does a really good job of putting you in the head of a guy, - but you don't really like the guy and it's not necessarily a head that you want to be in. This gets 4/5. Not a 5, because I'm never going to listen to them again. It's like a really good movie that I never want to watch again.

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Sun May 15 2022
4

This one was both musically fun as well as an intriguing concept. I had to read a review on Wikipedia to understand the themes, which made the story clear. Very cool concept and well executed.

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Thu Jun 09 2022
4

Now that’s a surprise, never heard hip hop like this. Really good!

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Sun Jun 26 2022
4

aww man, I fucking hate brit rap but you know what? this was way better than I was expecting I mean still kinda lame, but really good for a wanker, better than eminem to say the least I like the experimentation with unique flows and time signatures and the story telling was pretty fun for a normal day in britain 8/10

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Thu Aug 04 2022
4

It was behind the TV the whole time! Haven't listened to this in a while and it was nice to revisit. Mike Skinner was criminally underrated.

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Fri Sep 23 2022
4

Very good album, nice story being told, will listen again

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Fri Sep 30 2022
4

"A Grand Don't Come for Free" is the second studio album by English rapper and producer Mike Skinner known as The Streets. This is a rap opera and concept album about a guy having a relationship with a girl named Simone and the mysterious loss of £1,000 (the grand). Skinner talks, raps and sings and is a strength as he tells the story. There is also a very nice job matching the music with the story. "It Was Supposed to Be Easy" starts things off with dramatic horns, a slow drum beat and tells how our man lost his Grand and found his TV broken. "Could Well Be In" has a piano and a soulful feel. More uplifting as he begins his relationship with Simone. "Not Addicted" gives a more rap feel as he tries to get back his money by gambling. The third-released single "Blinded By the Lights" has synths which create a pyschedelic and paranoid atmosphere. Our protagonist gets drunks, takes ecstasy and thinks he sees Simone kissing his friend, Dan. The second single, "Fit But You Know It," speeds things up with the music and more of a rock beat. He's trying to impress a girl as he was kicked out of the house by Simone in the previous song. "Dry Your Eyes" is my favorite song on the album. Strings, acoustic guitar. Great singing and lyrics. A sad song as Simone breaks up with him. The album ends very originally with "Empty Cans" and two possible endings. Very suspenseful synths/keyboard. In one scenario, he gets into a fight with TV repairman and that's it. In the other one, he entually finds his grand behind his broken TV. I liked this album quite a bit when it came out. It still sounds good. The music is focused to the story. It might not be as musically adventurous as other albums in that genre but it still works for me.

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Wed Nov 09 2022
4

This is how rap should sound - musical. Tunes and soul as well as the words. Dry Your Eyes is heartbreakingly beautiful.

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Wed Nov 23 2022
4

мне симпатичен концепт рок-оперы, рэп-оперы это классная интересная тема, но в данном случае некоторые треки звучат слишком забавно (а так не должно быть, судя по всему, хотя мне это даже нравится на самом деле) и вне контекста, наверное, совсем не работают (что минус альбома на мой взгляд, хотя, может, так и должно быть), мне кажется, что можно сделать круче (вообще я пока не встречала действительно удачного (гениального??) гибрида хип хопа с какой-то классической музыкальной формой типа оперы, балета, а жаль (но это я просто не копалась пока))

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Sun Nov 27 2022
4

Relentlessly clever and wholly original. Simple, to the point of basic beats and effects and very talky rapping seem like they should not work but somehow they do – largely because they suit the mock-heroic, quotidian epic of the rhymes (has a rap record ever so glamorized or got more from watching [or repairing a] television?). There's a humor and even a sweetness that not many other rappers could deliver.

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Fri Dec 02 2022
4

Dit album ken ik! Dat kan ik niet elke dag zeggen hier. Vreemd en grappig. Hiphop met een mengelmoes van UK muziekstijlen als dubstep, grime en garage. "Blinded by the lights" en "Dry your eyes" zijn voor mij wel ondergewaardeerde klassiekers. Het is geen album wat ik lekker op de achtergrond aanzet, daar is het te maf voor.

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Wed Jul 07 2021
3

Very very British. Felt like I needed to revolt or something after this. But after I got over the super thick accent and the sing/rap style, it was a decent listen. Probably won't listen again, but it wasn't as bad as my initial impression was going to lead me to believe. 3.5/5.

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Thu Sep 24 2020
3

This album definitely sounds like 2004. I thought the concept was really original and endearing. I liked how he told the story. It's not the best rapping I've ever heard but it was pretty good.

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Thu May 20 2021
3

I allllmost want to give this a 4, but maybe that's just the fact that I typically don't enjoy this genre. I think last time I listened to UK rap/garage/grime, I was extremely turned off and only found little value/appeal in it. However, this was slightly melodic and the conversational style of rap-sing actually worked for me.

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Sun Apr 18 2021
3

3.5 stars

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Fri Apr 16 2021
3

Always felt like The Street are let down by melodies - like the lyrics got written first and then forced into any old melody. But I like the album and the concept.

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Thu Mar 18 2021
3

like it wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. like British 21 pilots

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Wed Jan 20 2021
3

Ok, accent to heavy and distracting.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
3

super cool album to listen to, you can hear how it influenced other albums.

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Thu Mar 18 2021
3

Definitely interesting and one of a kind as a concept album. I enjoy the conversational, Seinfeld-esque "about nothing" style. I appreciate getting into this guy's life. The instrumentals are spare and usually underwhelming. The delivery is kind of awkward. It requires a close listen to appreciate.

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Wed Jun 23 2021
3

Doesn't compare to Original Pirate Material for me

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Thu Jan 28 2021
3

Aged

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Thu Jun 10 2021
3

Het is niet slecht maar ik vind het niet zo spannend

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Tue May 04 2021
3

I enjoyed this, probably not as much as I would have done back in the day. ***

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Tue Apr 13 2021
3

Not for me

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Thu Mar 04 2021
3

A good album and nostalgic listen!

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Thu May 20 2021
3

Interesting voice and rap style.

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Fri Jun 18 2021
3

Gefälliger Rap ist eine Beleidigung ich habe es so empfunden

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Thu Mar 25 2021
3

me gustaron mucho las vibras y es bastante fácil de escuchar

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Tue Mar 23 2021
3

owned this album when it first came out, loved it. I think it the first concept album i ever listened to, the story is really great. I will never not love fit but you know it, classic.

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Fri Jul 02 2021
3

I was really disappointed in this album when it came out. After Original Pirate Material this felt like a massive let down. I listed to it a fair but at the time but never loved in the way I loved the debut. Listening today for the first time in many years things did not start well. Everything felt too sparse, the lyrics either too laboured or not laboured enough and the “concept” seemed unnecessary - songs like Not Addicted felt like a chore. Blinded by lights is a fantastic track though and for me was the point where I get sucked into the album and feel part of Mike’s story. About halfway through I was being won over and really enjoying my listen. Fit But You Know It is a banger that you want to hate but just cant and Such a T**t is a great track also. By the time we reach the brilliant album closer Empty Cans I feel completely immersed and I realised that they attempted an adventurous concept album and have pulled it off. It’s not the classic the the debut was, but it’s more bold and adventurous and ultimately a very good “difficult second album”

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Fri Jul 02 2021
3

Remember being disappointed by this after Original Pirate Material but to be fair it was a brave move to do a concept album (kind of) and it did bring Skinner a mass audience. Hadn’t listened to this in years and it is still just ok. OPM does get the odd run out and will always be a 5 in my book. Blinded By The Lights is a great track though.

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Thu May 20 2021
3

British Rap is okay. Liked the concept of a rap opera.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
3

A blend of UK garage breaks and brit-pop beats. If Eminem was cockney, British and slightly less angry, then this would be the result.

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Wed May 12 2021
3

I have general troubles listening to lyrics, so this one was pretty tough. A lot easier to listen to while reading the lyrics, because that's where the album shines. I don't think the music was as good, as I felt it to be quite repetitive. I'll listen to this one again.

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Fri May 28 2021
3

A band I've never hear of. Pretty unique. The lyrics are good, but his cadence gets a bit repetitive. All in all, I'd listen again.

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Fri Jun 18 2021
3

Rating: 6/10 Best songs: Blinded by the lights, Fit but you know it, What is he thinking

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Mon Jun 07 2021
3

Rap opera is not really for me, but I certainly found the concept to be interesting and thought the production was just really well done. In some ways, I was kind of sad that I couldn't really get into it. Some favourites from the album included Not Addicted and Dry Your Eyes.

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Mon Jun 21 2021
3

it's alright

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Wed Jul 14 2021
3

Boa sequencia para escutar rap

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Mon Jul 26 2021
3

Stereotypically and satisfyingly British: The scenes of nights out, the accent, the talk-rapping, and the musical landscape are all present. There's lots of production variance, mostly to the record's benefit, and a tape rewind at the end (cliché, but not telegraphed).

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Mon Aug 30 2021
3

Artist/band and his/their music were heretofore unknown to me, and I'm glad this project introduced me to all this. Some cool stuff in here; a real interesting hodgepodge of styles.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
3

Recall when a local alternative station put "Fit But You Know It" on heavy rotation. It irritated me at the time, and now listening to the whole album I sincerely don't get the hype. The musical accompaniment is so slight, the delivery of the lyrics so one-note. Bare points for cleverness in the storytelling but really don't feel any need for more of this.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
3

Still good, not sure if it's better than Original Pirate Material though

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Thu Oct 28 2021
3

As the one Brit in the group, faced up with something so aggressively British, I feel I should defend this. It's ambitious - a spoken word concept album, essentially (I would hesitate to call it rap or hip hop) that comes from a very singular perspective. Now, whether you enjoy Skinner's delivery is one thing (I don't), but his use of slang and storytelling, and ability to evoke a mood and atmosphere, are great. This was huge during my first year of university, and probably captured something of the slacker ambience of that time. Speaking of the zeitgeist, however, this album feels dated, a relic before its time - perhaps it was too honed in on the spirit of the age to endure?

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Thu Oct 28 2021
3

No british hip hop please…

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Thu Nov 18 2021
3

Cool story, but the beats is mid to me

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Mon Nov 22 2021
3

Second Listen. Starting to really grow on me. I wasn't crazy about it the first time I heard it. 3/5

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Thu Dec 23 2021
3

An old friend, not as good as I recalled

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Wed Dec 29 2021
3

British hip-hop. Not in the mood for ATM

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Wed Jan 12 2022
3

Pretty weird.

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Wed Jan 19 2022
3

Disc de hip hop molt musical, conceptual sobre les vivències del protagonista a Londres, i les seves penúries diàries. Recordo quan era la "nina dels ulls" de l'NME, mitjans dels 00s, el van reivindicar massa, jo crec. Però el disc és força bo i molt més digerible que el 80% del hip hop USA

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Sun Jan 23 2022
3

3.5/5

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Wed Jan 26 2022
3

Some really cool tunes here. Great storytelling interesting sounds/beats. I enjoyed my listen not sure if I want or need any further listening though. 3 🌟

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Thu Jan 27 2022
3

The Street's lyrics are at their best when they're conversational, vulnerable and a little bit awkward, and Mike Skinner does a fine job and working those into his self-centred storytelling on A Grand Don't Come For Free. Some of the tracks just don't land for me, possibly because they haven't aged super well. Fav Tracks: Could Be Well Now, Dry Your Eyes and It Was Suppose to Be so Easy

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Thu Feb 17 2022
3

This is so freaking Bri-ish

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Thu Feb 24 2022
3

Not bad

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Thu Feb 24 2022
3

Good storytelling and funny. Prefer Original Pirate Material.

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Sun Mar 06 2022
3

Way better than I thought, proof that ‘rap’ doesn’t have to be about shouty aggressive lyrics & it’s piqued my interest in his other work, especially the non-rap stuff.

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Mon Mar 07 2022
3

I'm honestly not sure how I feel about this. It was interesting...I think?

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Sun Mar 13 2022
3

This was a quirky album. Definitely a not just a collection of unrelated singles, but a full-out story of this poor dude. The story wasn’t actually all that interesting to me and at times it almost felt like when a kid is making up a song about what they are doing as they are doing it. I didn’t find the beats all that interesting either. I applaud the innovation, but it didn’t really rock my world.

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Sun Mar 13 2022
3

The homemade sound of this album was both off-putting and its charm. The closest comparison I can think of is the Shaggs. I liked the idea of a rap opera, but I would like to see and hear the movie cast... The story was interesting and fun. I liked listening and hearing it unfold. I just have to ask, do I really want to listen to it again...

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Thu Mar 24 2022
3

English rap band. Ok if you like rap I thought it was a little bit different.

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Mon Mar 28 2022
3

Ik mag dit wel. Gezellig 🙂.

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Fri Apr 01 2022
3

okay rap sound.

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Thu Apr 07 2022
3

Original, fun, quirky, great London beats

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Thu Apr 07 2022
3

Interesting flow and just "normal day" subject matter. Not sure I'm a huge fan though.

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Wed Apr 27 2022
3

ok

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Wed Apr 27 2022
3

Yeah, this isn't really my kind of thing, but it's okay, I guess. Some nostalgia value for Well Be In, for example. Blinded by the Lights is the main one I remember, and it holds pretty well, I guess. But yeah, this kind of slow, regular talking style of rap isn't my deal for the most part. Oh, Dry Your Eyes is good too. I'm glad he found his thousand quid at the end, even if this didn't totally do it for me.

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Wed Jun 29 2022
3

OK, when I heard the chorus I kneeeeeeew these guys were inspired by the group called The Shaggs! I like that, they do it well! Very interesting and I Love the heavy British accent. I get excited when I hear British singers allowing their accents to come through in their songs. Background music is a bit repetitive for me. I think it would be fun to learn all the words.

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Thu Jul 14 2022
3

Sviđa mi se koncept, ljubav, droga, općenito. No, problem mali je u tome što mu je flow dosta slab, nekako amaterski - valjda s razlogom jer više priča priču nego što repa, više vuče na tipa ono pričanje kao u Parklife od Blura. Nekad mi to zasmeta na albumu, beatovi su super, kažem, koncept je dobar, poput neke mini serije - moglo bi se zamisliti. 3.5/5 mi je. Dobar album, valja ga preslušati i definitivno zvuči britansko.

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Thu Jul 14 2022
3

Jako kul priča al da fali neki flow da mi bude četvorka

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Mon Aug 01 2022
3

interesting concept, but vocals were often too annoying. "blinded by the lights" and "dry your eyes" were the best songs

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Fri Sep 02 2022
3

Curious

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Fri Sep 09 2022
3

Enjoy the concept and execution

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Wed Sep 28 2022
3

Listens: 2 Enjoyed I think so It was the most clear concept album so far in terms of storytelling and I quite like that. But the style just isn't for me. If you told me this was a skit I would fully accept it. Sort of feels like an early noughties version of 'People just do nothing' Fit but you know it' feels like the point Incel became mainstream 'Dry your eyes' is by far the best on the album. It suits his voice and is an excellent climax

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Fri Sep 30 2022
3

Buen álbum de rap británico con un interesante concepto e historia. En los comentarios se nota que muchos prefieren la historia contada a lo musical en este disco, pero, desde mi punto de vista, creo que es perfecta la combinación: una simple historia totalmente actual, real y creíble que Mike Skinner nos cuenta acompañado de pequeñas melodías y sencillos recursos musicales.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
3

Cool idea, didn’t finish

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Wed Oct 26 2022
3

Intéressant. Très champ gauche. Pas tout à fait ce à quoi je m'attendais, mais je savais que ce serait différent. On est un peu dans la veine de Buck 65 et parfois en territoire de Sufjan Stevens dans l'exploration. J'ai bien aimé.

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Wed Oct 26 2022
3

C’est fait avec beaucoup de légerté, et pas du tout à la fois. C’est très British comme album malgré qu’on parle plus ou mons de hip-hop. J’ai aimé le fait qu’il y ait une histoire du début à la fin de l’album.

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Sun Oct 30 2022
3

No lo escuché bien

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Sun Nov 06 2022
3

Nuoren brittimiehen tutut koettelemukset, kerrottuna tavalla, jonka vahvuus on kekseliäisyyden sijaan kattavuudessa. Levyn tarinoita ei voi olla kuuntelematta, enkä voi olla pitämättä niistä.

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Wed Nov 16 2022
3

It’s pleasant enough - for this kind of music it tells decent stories

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Mon Apr 26 2021
2

The story is kind of interesting, but the beats are very quiet and the rapping is very stilted. I could tell it was self-produced before looking it up. Overall very eh. Favorite track: "Fit But You Know It"

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Wed Jan 06 2021
2

Interesting but unusual.. not sure, probably because not the type of things I'd listen to usually

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Fri Apr 02 2021
2

Nothing special, I can understand the lyrics so there is that.

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Mon Mar 15 2021
2

Not my thing really

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Thu Jan 21 2021
2

Not really my style, it's not so bad, but it's like a mix of rap and fif music....

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Wed Jun 02 2021
2

So, this album is not that good, but "Fit But You Know It" is a fucking banger.

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Mon Jul 12 2021
2

Love his accent and the background music... Don't love the rap.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
2

Not for me, though I do love "Fit but You Know It" and "Dry Your Eyes Mate"

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Tue Apr 27 2021
2

Concept album. Rap in the suburbs. Cheeky.

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Sun Apr 04 2021
2

false

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Mon Mar 22 2021
2

Not for me. Focus on vocals for poetry

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Fri May 28 2021
2

It's an interesting concept, definitely unique, but I don't love it. Just not much musically to really get into. 2 stars.

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Fri May 28 2021
2

Was a labor to listen to this whole record. I just can't get into super-"English" hip hop or whatever this is. I do remember hearing a couple of the tracks and the biggest single was fun enough, but this record was a lot to get through.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
2

4.5

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Wed Mar 03 2021
2

Odd entry, Dry Your Eyes built on Original Pirate Material, the rest is a bit choppy for my taste

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Tue Jul 06 2021
2

Wow, I really don't think I've ever heard british rap before. It sounds different, I'll give it that. But I really just don't like rap with very few exceptions, so there's that. I'll also give it that the concept is something different and that the symphonic touches are nice. However, the bare bones, minimalist production offsets that again. This one simply isn't for me.

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Wed May 26 2021
2

British talking rap and rock. This stripped down album, does little to show the creativity despite speaking about the young adult experiences that would seem relatable.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
2

I use to love this album in high school and I still find it super cheeky and funny. Musically sounds amateur at certain times.

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Mon May 10 2021
2

Not really feeling this. Can't give it the listen it probably deserves.

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Wed Jul 21 2021
2

Difficult to listen to - brit accent and rap style is an uncommon mix that didn't work for me.

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Fri May 21 2021
2

Boring, woozy, thoroughly detestable pop/hip-hop, saved somewhat by a catchy couple of tracks.

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Sun Jul 11 2021
2

Can you even call this hiphop? Its not really traditional. Its just some british guy talking over some rock anthems. There are just some annoying and stop themes in the songs here, like "Get Out Of My House" or "Fit but You Know it" It's just... annoying. I found it hard to sit through most songs without getting bored. 4/10 (As of July 9th, 2021) Best Tracks: It Was Supposed to be So Easy, Blinded By Thr Lights Worst Track: Get Out Of My House

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Tue Jul 27 2021
2

2/5 something was off with this. hiphopish but also something else.

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Wed Jul 28 2021
2

I like The Streets but this album didn’t do it for me, too abrupt

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Sun Sep 05 2021
2

There were a couple times during the album i noticed that i was able to enjoy it, but the spoken lyrics with an almost artificial sing-songy pacing were too distracting too much of the time. Layered frequently over minimal music, but the lyrics/stories seemed to be a strength.

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Sun Sep 05 2021
2

They sound like Jamie Oliver... OK but not worth writing home about

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Thu Sep 30 2021
2

I didn't get the sound

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Mon Oct 04 2021
2

First listen. Interesting sound. 2/5

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