The Streets: All Got Our Runnins

Michael Beaumont

"Give Me My Lighter Back" and "All Got Our Runnins" are every bit as strong as anything on Original Pirate Material, so if you're skeptical about downloading the new songs, fearing that it's either left over scraps from the OPM sessions or quickly tossed off B-side type material, fear not, it's top-notch stuff.

The Streets

All Got Our Runnins EP

Label: Vice
UK Release Date: 2003

In the early part of the 21st century, there were few people capable of making a claim to UK garage's worth as anything but an Anglo-oriented club trend that was simply next in line for the fickle, style-conscious British dancefloor elite. Meanwhile, the prospect of anything more than a 12" by any one of the major artists on the scene being worth listening to would seem like an exercise in self-induced aural torture and futility. Then, in mid-2002, something changed. Mike Skinner, a pale, skinny, Birmingham kid with a dodgy laptop released Original Pirate Material, an actual full LP worth of two-step/garage tracks backing his cockney-fied rhyming "raps". It had no right to be of any worth, and it certainly had no right to be one of the best albums of the year. But, incredibly it was. Original Pirate Material was filled with stories from the lives of British street youth, and vivid scenes of malcontent. There were Sony Playstations, and take-out food ("shit-in-a-tray" as so memorably put), and weed, and clubs, and all the little intricacies of daily urban life. Oh, and it was bloody hilarious, good fun on top of it. It was the kind of record that you can put on when you're all alone on a Saturday night playing SSX and feel like you've got your mates over having a laugh. And that, my friends, is a good type of record to have around the flat.

So, what better way to follow up the success of a commercially successful and critically acclaimed debut than to release a stopgap EP, before embarking on the arduous and unenviable task of releasing the album's follow-up? This could, theoretically, go on for ages. Radiohead, for example, have made a career out of being too frightened to properly follow up their critical and commercial breakthrough, OK Computer, so perhaps Skinner is on to something here. A new career path, a new paradigm, the possibilities are endless?

In Skinner's defense, All Got Our Runnins is an "Internet exclusive EP". Meaning, you can only download it (it's available on iTunes, Napster, and the like), and it is certainly not available in your local record shop, which gives even further credence to the belief that Skinner is pleading, "don't judge my new material! It's just a toss off, not even worth creating proper packaging for actually?" However, in listening to All Got Our Runnins, the poor lad's got himself all worked up over nothing really! Go ahead and download it, it's quite good!

Now, in reality, there are only three new songs out of the eight cuts that make up All Got Our Runnins. The haunting and cinematic confession, "Streets Score", the hilarious and strangely addicting "Give Me Back My Lighter", and the title track. The rest of the EP is rounded out by remixes and an instrumental (of "Streets Score"). Although to be fair, the remixes contain brand new guest vocals from the likes of Dizzee Rascal and total reworkings by the likes of High Contrast, creating almost entirely new songs out of familiar favorites ("Let's Push Things Forward" and "Has It Come to This" respectively, the latter even going so far as being cleverly renamed, "It's Come to This").

"Give Me My Lighter Back" and "All Got Our Runnins" are every bit as strong as anything on Original Pirate Material, so if you're skeptical about downloading the new songs, fearing that it's either left over scraps from the OPM sessions or quickly tossed off B-side type material, fear not, it's top-notch stuff.

The remixes are so re-worked and creative, that they are almost completely new tracks in and of themselves. Mr. Figit gives "Don't Mug Yourself" a playful new edge while also adding additional vocals, while Roll Deep and Dizzee Rascal completely rework "Let's Push Things Forward", rendering it nearly, and happily, unrecognizable from its original incarnation.

House producer Ashley Beedle's "Weak Become Heroes" remix attempts to create a genuine (and pretty straightforward) dancefloor remix of the OPM standout. Although it's not as exciting as the before-mentioned remixes, it's enjoyable enough, and benefits tremendously from the original composition's utter quality.

Closing out the EP is the Eminem-like "Street's Score". Book ending the proceedings nicely as the song's backing track introduces things early on, "Streets Score" is the most honest, and direct track here. A measured response to critics who accuse Skinner of being a phony and peddling tales of "deep-seeded urban decay" from his suburban bedroom, Skinner lets it all hang out: "I'm a fake I don't live the streets / But there's only so many hours in the day / And I use 'em to make beats". Later he admits to not knowing what half of "Has It Come To This" means, and defends his music's subjects with lines like, "Does my life sound as interesting as a fight in a chip shop / I think not". By the time the track closes out, Skinner wants to "just get back to the stories". And I'd have to agree. Especially, when they're as good as these.





Literary Scholar Andrew H. Miller On Solitude As a Common Bond

Andrew H. Miller's On Not Being Someone Else considers how contemplating other possibilities for one's life is a way of creating meaning in the life one leads.


Fransancisco's "This Woman's Work" Cover Is Inspired By Heartache (premiere)

Indie-folk brothers Fransancisco dedicate their take on Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" to all mothers who have lost a child.


Rodd Rathjen Discusses 'Buoyancy', His Film About Modern Slavery

Rodd Rathjen's directorial feature debut, Buoyancy, seeks to give a voice to the voiceless men and boys who are victims of slavery in Southeast Asia.


Hear the New, Classic Pop of the Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" (premiere)

The Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" is a pop tune, but pop as heard through ears more attuned to AM radio's glory days rather than streaming playlists and studio trickery.


Blitzen Trapper on the Afterlife, Schizophrenia, Civil Unrest and Our Place in the Cosmos

Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Fire in the Time of Coronavirus

If we venture out our front door we might inhale both a deadly virus and pinpoint flakes of ash. If we turn back in fear we may no longer have a door behind us.


Sufjan Stevens' 'The Ascension' Is Mostly Captivating

Even though Sufjan Stevens' The Ascension is sometimes too formulaic or trivial to linger, it's still a very good, enjoyable effort.

Jordan Blum

Chris Smither's "What I Do" Is an Honest Response to Old Questions (premiere + interview)

How does Chris Smither play guitar that way? What impact does New Orleans have on his music? He might not be able to answer those questions directly but he can sure write a song about it.


Sally Anne Morgan Invites Us Into a Metaphorical Safe Space on 'Thread'

With Thread, Sally Anne Morgan shows that traditional folk music is not to be smothered in revivalist praise. It's simply there as a seed with which to plant new gardens.


Godcaster Make the Psych/Funk/Hard Rock Debut of the Year

Godcaster's Long Haired Locusts is a swirling, sloppy mess of guitars, drums, flutes, synths, and apparently whatever else the band had on hand in their Philly basement. It's a highly entertaining and listenable album.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.