Album: Skinnyman

Council Estate of Mind, LOW LIFE
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The Independent Culture

"No one in this British rap game is makin' it," moans the Ali G-sound-alike Skinnyman on his dismal debut album, conveniently overlooking The Streets' success, and begging questions about the appeal of Brit-hop's dreary litany of complaints and toy-town gangsta posturings. There's little to draw one back to Skinny's barn-door-obvious accounts of council-estate deprivation, his clichéd blather about acting like a soldier, and his insulting notion that teenage hoodlums are "just dealin' the cards that life has dealt them". No they're not - they're making conscious decisions to terrorise their neighbourhoods, and should be treated accordingly. Skinny, who has been locked up more than once, uses his jail experience in tracks like "Little Man", the familiar tale of a youthful murderer who becomes suicidal in prison, and "That's What I'm Gonna Do", in which a young prisoner ponders how he'll try and make something of himself upon his release. Surprise surprise, his great plan is the usual infantile hip-hop dream of making it as a rapper, a career option which, ironically, Skinny has already dismissed as unworkable. There appears to be no Plan B. Then again, that would probably entail some recognition of the wider world outside hip-hop's little self-pitying gangsta playpen.

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