Original Pirate Material, the debut from The Streets (aka Birmingham’s Mike Skinner), is an ambitious story-cycle with musical influences as disparate as the urban UK culture described in Pirate‘s songs. Rapping over skittering two-step and next-generation big beat grooves, Skinner presents his Everykid – the Geezer – as a smart, cynical lout who likes drinking beer, pounding fast food, and hitting up the PS2. Rapping in his unadorned commoner’s speech, Skinner emulates the offhanded, yet serious as a heart-attack, flow of a Mos Def or Jeru the Damaja. The beats are occasionally a bit flat, but Pirate is never, ever boring. It’s especially interesting to listen to as a document of urban life in the UK, and how the same trends and marketing that have come to dominate American youth culture aren’t that much different across the pond. Skinner’s main character always seems to keep one eye on the people that are trying to influence he and his mates, while the other is eyeing the latest Playstation game or the Man U highlights on Sky Sports. Original Pirate Material – an interesting hip-hop document that also rocks the house.