The Streets (aka Mike Skinner, born 27.11.1978)
Mike Skinner is known by his stage name The Streets and is a rapper from Birmingham. He rose to fame with the release of his Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut album Original Pirate Material.
The Streets: Childhood
Mike Skinner's love of music began at a young age, when he started playing keyboards and when he was a teenager, he formed a small recording studio in his bedroom. He made garage and hip-hop music with a group of friends. Since the age of seven, Skinner has suffered from epilepsy.
Mike Skinner attended Bournville School and then Sutton Coldfield College.
The Streets: Music Career
In 2000, Locked On released 'Has It Come To This'. The label had previously had success with a track by The Artful Dodger, featuring Craig David. 'Has It Come To This?' received a great deal of radio airplay and broke the UK Top 20.
The single was soon followed with the release of the album Original Pirate Material. The album was a huge success both with the public and with music critics. The album was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize but The Streets lost out to Ms Dynamite. All of the singles from the album ('Don't Mug Yourself', 'Weak Become Heroes', Let's Push Things Forward') reached the UK Top 40.
The Streets' second album was entitled A Grand Don't Come For Free. The debut single from the album, 'Fit But You Know It' was released in May 2004 and reached number four in the UK singles chart. An MC remix of the track features Lady Sovereign, Kano and Tinchy Stryder. The album was a concept album about a man that loses £1,000, starts a relationship, goes on holiday, breaks up the relationship and finds the cash again. The second single, 'Dry Your Eyes' went straight to number one in the UK.
In 2006, The Streets' third album, The Hardest Way To Make A Living was released in 2006. The subject of the album focused on dealing with the problems of fame. The first single from the album, 'When You Wasn't Famous' reached number eight. Its follow-up, which is dedicated to his father, was entitled 'Never Went To Church' and uses the same chord sequence of 'Let It Be' by The Beatles. In June of that year, Mike Skinner appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman to promote the album.
Everything is Borrowed was released in 2008. Skinner decided to keep the tone of the album uplifting. The Streets made a live appearance at London's Roundhouse for the 2008 Electric Proms.
In late 2008, Mike Skinner announced that the fifth album from The Streets would be entitled Computers and Blues but would not be released until 2010. He also stated that it would be his last under The Streets moniker.
The following year, Skinner began posting free songs for his fans to download, via the Twitter website.
The Streets' live band consists of Kevin Mark Trail as his hype man, Wayne Vibes, Johnny Drum Machine and Chris Brown. Former bassist Morgan Nicholls left The Streets to focus on playing a variety of instruments for Muse's live band.
Mike Skinner and Ed Mayhem present an online blog / music show called Beat Stevie (to sound like Beats TV). The episodes are often aired on Channel 4's late night 4Music slot.