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A Grand Don't Come for Free

162 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 18, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Mike Skinner, the musical mastermind behind The Streets, once again melds hip-hop, dub, ska, UK garage beats, and his unique rhyme style to deliver a sound like nothing else. Instead of the snapshot imagery of the last album, "Original Pirate Material", "A Grand..." is one continuous narrative, following Skinner through a day of victories, defeats, and battles.

With beats that mix hip-hop, R&B, and UK garage, A Grand Don't Come For Free, like its impressive predecessor Original Pirate Material (2002), transforms the everyday and the mundane into the terms of an epic. British rapper Mike Skinner captures the simple details of a simple existence that inhabits the lower levels of the middle class. But whereas Original Pirate Material was more about everyday life on the streets, this follow-up is more about everyday life in the flat--mom's kitchen, my mate's living room, my girl's couch. The Streets has fallen in love, and his raps narrate the adventures and misadventures of this romance. In all, it is a concept album that places greater emphasis on storytelling rather than on the music, which is often spare with little or no enhancements. With some songs expressing the beauty of love and others expressing the pleasures of drugs, the Streets is still holding it down for the UK. --Charles Mudede
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 18, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vice/Atlantic
  • ASIN: B0001XARU4
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,607 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Cary S. Whitt on November 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Mike Skinner has truely sold his soul to the devil. How else can one explain the greatness achieved on his second record, A Grand Don't Come For Free? His debut was fantastic, but I, like some of my music junkie friends, wanted to see if the tank was spent, if there was another great record to come after such a increedible start.

That question has been answered. Not only did he deliver a better record the second time out, it's almost a concept type album just based on the way it is presented to the listener. Concept album you say? Well, kinda. A Grand Don't Come For Free is basically a day in the life of Mike Skinner. He takes us on very personal, sometimes tough excursions into his mind as well as his surroundings. Rarely does an artist paint such vivid verbal imagery, but from the moment you put it on, you're right there with him. It's almost like a marathon confession and you are the priest behind the divider. Some of the things you here are kinda shocking, not in content but in the way they are everyday to him, the throw-away coupled with the essential, that tends to play havoc with him and you actually feel it.

The single, and lone radio hit, Dry Your Eyes, play out like it's a painful, yet public break-up, and you happened to sitting next to them. Another moment your tramping through a niteclub, high on God knows what, looking for friends who simply are not there (Blinded By The Lights). Desperate stuff indeed.

The album has it's upbeat tracks like Such A Tw*t, but for the most part, it's bigger focus is on the storytelling. Something it does far better than any hip-hop release in recent memory. The Streets second record wakes you up, stays with you all day and then puts you to bed. With any luck, you'll only be exhausted.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Strain on September 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I guess if you're looking for cookie cutter, formulaic rap music . . . you know, the kind you can find on just about every popular music station in the country, this cd isn't for you. If you don't like to really take the time to listen to lyrics, catch the meaning of a phrase said in different wording, or god forbid, try to decipher another accent, then this cd isn't for you either.

If you do like music that sounds different from the outset, that has funny lyrics about something other than the amount of cars or bitches one has, this may be right up your alley. Mike Skinner tells a story all through the cd. It took me a couple of listens before I realized that the songs string together and relate to one another. Listening to it, I felt like I was listening to a friend tell me about his past couple of days. I thought it was refreshingly different and there isn't one song that I fast forward through. Most of all, the guy sounds sincere. I believe what he's saying, that he actually may have experienced these things. I also really enjoyed the english slang and down to earth sense of humor thrown in there.

Just judge it for yourself. It isn't like the "rap" music you often hear in the states. In fact, it wasn't even in the rap section of the store I bought it in originally. It was classified as electronica. Whatever the hell it is, I love it and I hope to hear more from the talented Mr. Skinner.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ben Dugan on October 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
A lot of people seem to think the Streets is a novelty act, a talentless M.C. who gets attention in this country because he raps in a British accent and we, the Americans, will buy anything with a British accent. And I have to admit, when I first listened to this album, that is presciouly what I thought.

But the craziest thing happened when I started listening to it a few times. I realzied that not only is this not a novelty, but Mike Skinner, the main man behind the Streets, maybe one of the most inventive people in music now.

"A Grand Don't Come For Free", the Streets second L.P., is a concept record and should be treated as such. The record works its charms when you listen to the whole thing in its entirety, listening to the music and lyrics in one whole listen. To hear merely a track or two and then pressing stop is to do the record a great injustice.

The record gets started off with "It Was Supposed to Be So Easy", which seems, and in fact is, a song about how the little things can start a day off really bad. The charactor of the record, presumebly Skinner himself, returns the case to a DVD back to the video store but forgets to put the DVD in the place(I have done this myself more than once), can't withdraw money from his ATM because of "insufficent funds", forgot to charge his cell phone, and loses a thousand dollars in savings while his friends stand around. That sets the record in motion, and over the course of the next ten songs, Skinner takes one too many ecstasty pills, gets dumped by his girlfriend, tries in vein and fails to hook up with a girl at a bar, loses more money betting on a soccer game, discovers which one of his friends steals his money and can't get his broken T.V. fixed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Paul Calderaro on July 25, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Before I owned this album, I had a few misconceptions about popular music.

1. Music artists are interested in creating a larger-than-life public image. It is very important that people believe the artist is MUCH cooler than they are.

2. Popular music is about hooking people with a catchy single. If you can get a song in someone's head, they'll check out the artist.

3. As genres are blended together, everything is starting to sound the same.

Well, Mike Skinner has made an album that proves that none of these things are true.

First, Skinner is not trying to be cool. In fact, he goes out of the way to be as honest and self-aware as possible. Every emotion and private thought is spelled out, even ones he likely wouldn't share with his closest confidant.

Second, this is a concept album. It tells a story, and progresses in a logical, theatrical way. The songs are infectious, but after you experience the album as a whole, it seems WRONG to separate one song. It would be like releasing only one scene from a movie on DVD.

Finally, this album mixes as many genres of music as any other, yet NOBODY is making music that sounds like this.

I listen to this constantly. Every time I hear it, I grin and shake my head in wonder at its brilliance.

It's as fun and emotionally satisfying as anything you're likely to hear for a long time. Buy it and be amazed.
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