COMING to the fore at a time in which the world of hip-hop was dominated with baseless tales of opulent wealth, gun-toting glamorisations of societal ills and boastful claims of sexual prowess from America, Birminghan’s Mike Skinner was a breath of fresh albeit smoky air.

Documenting a life of underclass misadventures, fast food diets, insecurities, overpriced clubs and potent narcotics, the very first moment that you heard the opening bars of ‘Turn The Page’ on Original Pirate Material left no doubt that The Streets were a rare irreplicable proposition that enlightened, engrossed and unhinged within the same breath.

As Mike Skinner gets set to return to the nation’s stages with their comeback tour, let’s go beyond the chart-friendly sounds of ‘Dry Your Eyes’ and ‘Fit But You Know It’ and delve into the philosphical musings of the man that thrilled a generation of disenchanted British youths.

“I get withdrawal symptoms if I’ve not created something, like a song or a video, for a few days”

“If celebrities didn’t want that to happen they wouldn’t have gone to the bars where all the photographers hang out… I fall out of this bar fucking every week and no one knows about it.”

“All I was really doing was taking the rap records and changing the bitches, the ho’s and the cars, into the Kronenburg, Bensons and girls.”

“When you’re an artist you make an album and then you do what you like. Most rock stars don’t mean to die, there’s just nothing to stop you carrying on taking loads of drugs.”

This ain’t the down, it’s the upbeat, make it complete
So what’s the story? Guaranteed accuracy, enhanced CD
Latest technology, darts at treble twenty
Huge non-recoupable advance, majors be vigilant
I excel in both content and deliverance
So let’s put on our classics and we’ll have a little dance, shall we?
No sales pitch, no media hype, no hydro, it’s nice and ripe
I speak in communications in bold type-  Let’s Push Things Forward

I want to notice chances I’ve passed without notice
I want to see details previously veiled
I want to grab that chance, carry it home
So I can marry and know
That I noticed every chance
That I could have passed without notice
I saw details that to all were veiled
And I grabbed those chances, carried them home
And then I’ll have had it with roaming- Everything Is Borrowed

Dizzy new heights, blinded by the lights
These people are for life
It’s all back to his place at the end of the night
Yo, they could settle wars with this
If only they will, imagine the world’s leaders on pills
And imagine the morning after, wars causing disaster
Don’t talk to me, I don’t know ya, but this ain’t tomorrow
For now, I still love ya- Weak Become Heroes 

We’re on a mission, support the cause
Sign a petition, summon all your wisdom
The Music’s a gift from the Man on high, the Lord and his children
Triple team here of rudeboys
Come rain or snow, the Buddha flows
You don’t know? Stand on the corner, watch the show
‘Cause life moves slow- Has It Come To This? 

‘Cause this world swallows souls
And when the blues unfold, it gets cold, silence burns holes
You’re going mad, perhaps you always were
But when things was good, you just didn’t care
This is called irony
When you most need to get up, you got no energy
Time and time shit’ll happen, the dark shit’s unwrapping- Stay Positive

“I’m not common. I’m a thinker and I’m well-read. But I just happen to like casual culture, because it’s a massively important genre.”

She stirred her straw, sat up to adjust
I told her I thought it was important
That you could get lost in conversation
Chatting shit, sitting in, oblivion
With that person who’s your special one- Could Well Be In 

Watch the video for ‘The Irony Of It All’ below: