#ThrowbackThursday Ranking the Mike Skinner, The Streets and The Beats All-Star remixes
Author: Daniel David | Thursday 9th July 2020
Tomorrow, we are going to get the first The Streets project in 9 years when Mike Skinner releases ‘None of Us are Getting out of this Life Alive.’ The mixtape features Ms. Banks, Donae’O, Dapz on the Map and Oscar #worldpeace amongst others. This return has been much anticipated as The Streets were a huge part of Grime and UK Hip Hop getting recognition in the mainstream. And Mike Skinner has always been one to pay his respects to those scenes, from his Noisey documentaries, to his Cyberspace and Reds mixtape which featured Kano, Wiley, Wretch, Ice Kid, Trim and Jammer amongst others.
But Mike's biggest show of respect has been the remixes he has released to his hit songs. Starting with a remix to 'Let's Push Things Forward' Mike would go on to enlist some of the biggest MCs in the game at the time to provide their own versions of songs of his. And this extended past Mike and to the rest of his record label which was called The Beats and was home to The Mitchell Brothers, Professor Green and Example. These remixes provided unique spins on his own songs and gave them a life of their own and also allowed artists to be showcased on platforms that they had not been on previously. So today I rank these remixes, all of which are good, but some are better than others.
11) When You Wasn’t Famous Remixes feat. Example, Professor Green, Doctor and Bearman
Kicking things off at number 11 is a remix to the first single off The Streets 3rd album ‘The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living’ called ‘When You Wasn’t Famous.’ This album was an interesting one, as Mike Skinner’s relatability started to fade slightly as he started rapping about how hard fame can be, something some of us will never have to deal with. This album was well received but not as well as the previous 2. With 'When You Wasn't Famous," deals with the problems of being famous but trying to get a girl who is also famous.
This one received 3 remixes, 2 from labelmates Example and Professor Green, and the last one from Doctor and Bearman. Example, who was just starting to make a name for himself, raps about the perils of fame, and how it puts you at risk of being killed by someone who just wants some fame. A pre-fame Professor Green spits about how he wants the celebrity life including being snapped at nightclubs, something that might have seemed foreign at the time but eventually became his life. Meanwhile Doctor and Bearman talk about the ease of getting girls now that they have a bit of fame, when before the fame they had no interest. The last verse sees the 2 exchange comedic bars, something Bearman was known for. I will talk about Doctor on the next new tune, but Bearman was really making a name for himself with his bear themed songs and his beef with Footsie, his departure from music was a real shame as he had loads of potential
10) Alone With The TV Rusher Remix feat. Ny and Doctor
The original from The Mitchell Brothers was a heartbreak anthem, with Teddy and Tony exchanging verses about their respective relationships. The remix sees Ny dominate the song and sing from the perspective of the friend who has been broken up with, being the middle person and having to calm the situation down which is a very cool twist to the song. Doctor however turns things up, telling Tony Mitchell of The Mitchell Brothers that his girl is now Doctor’s.
This one takes the concept of the original and flips it on it’s head, providing the other side of The Mitchell Brothers classic. This is also the last appearance on the list of Doctor, who had so much potential and hype when he first came out but has since gone quiet.
9) Before I Die Remix feat. Ghetts, Narstie, Example and Plan B
Professor Green was signed by Mike Skinner just after he was making waves in Battle Rap. ‘Before I Die’ was one of the songs on his first mixtape and one of his first proper releases. This song sees each MC explaining either what they want to do before death or what their death will be like.
Ghetts spitting “Before I'm in the cemetery, I wanna watch all the films out the 70s, I've tried but I fell asleep - so did my dad, so I guess it's hereditary” because what films are these? And are they that boring that you fall asleep?
Plan B just being mad explicit about his condition near death.
Big Narstie saying “Before I die, I'mma link Elton John with a hardback yardie, He's gonna say "hello hi", and she's gonna say "what?" and come fuck me” and “So before I go, I'mma teach the Queen gang signs”
Example explaining his conversation with the Grim Reaper through verse., with the Grim Reaper giving him tips on how he could live life better.
The theme of this of this one gave everyone a chance to do something jokes with it, and Narstie really came through, you can see why he has gained the respect in the TV and comedy world with some of the lines he spits.
8) Excuse my Brother Remix feat. Baby Blue, NoLay and Krush
Another flip of a Mitchell Brothers song, the original described the debauchery of a night out with Tony Mitchell trying to move to a girl while being drunk, being confronted by her boyfriend and Teddy Mitchell having to keep Tony in check. The remix sees Baby, NoLay and Krush be on the receiving end of those advances, providing the other side of the story. Baby Blue used to appear on so many things at this point, NoLay has gone on to have a storied career and this is one of the only appearances on a song for Krush. It is very innovative that the Mitchell Brothers would provide a female perspective to their songs, especially on a song like this which deals with harassment. Baby Blue's verse is very clever referencing The Mitchell Brothers songs 'Routine Check and 'Harvey Nicks.' NoLay is ferocious, showing why she is such a respected MC.
7) Blinded by the Lights - Mitchell Brothers
While Bashy produced a classic unofficial remix to this one on his Chupa Chups mixtape, The Mitchell Brothers appeared on the official remix, painting a picture of getting rushed in a club, taking the storytelling style of Mike Skinner and putting their own spin on it. The Mitchell Brothers were so underrated, that first album to me is a classic and it’s a shame they seemed to have disappeared, they had a knack of providing you with the little details that really filled in the story.
The opening bars on this “what if it was you on the dancefloor, except for this time you are the dancefloor, getting your chest stamped on by Prada sports, your body’s heavily bruised and your garms are torn” are a crazy way to kick off a verse. The songs takes twists and turns and puts you right in the thick of the action, the paranoid, claustrophobic beat which Mike Skinner told his legendary drug tale, is perfect for the building feeling of dread that Teddy and Tony are describing.
6) Let’s Push Things Forward Remix feat. Roll Deep
3 of the most impactful UK MCs on one track Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and Mike Skinner himself. This Roll Deep remix of Let’s Push Things Forward, a beloved single off The Streets’ Original Pirate Material, sees those 3 along with Breeze, Flow Dan, Scratchy, Jet Le and I think that’s Biggie Pitbull on the last verse. This one is special, there aren’t many Roll Deep songs that have Dizzee on them so to hear him on this sounding real young is crazy. This is the first time Mike Skinner enlisted other MCs for a remix which would become a trademark of his. Everyone on this sounds hungry and eager to impress
5) Routine Check Remix feat. Trim, Scratchy and JME
When I wrote about Routine Check a few months ago, I really wanted to write about the remix but I already had too many words, but this one is sick. Trim kicks off with his trademark flow, telling us he ain’t even got time to be stopped by police “fuck a routine check, think I’m stopping for feds, I ain’t even waiting for them to stop soon as I clocked they’re there, I make myself scarce I’m gone God gave me legs.” Scratchy laments on how many undercovers there are in the area that he can’t even go Greggs without getting stopped. JME narrates an experience of getting stopped, name dropping Skepta. The Mitchell Brother also add 2 verses to this one. The original is a classic, but the remix more than holds its own.
4) Could Well Be In Remix feat. Bruza, D Double E, Scratchy, Ghetts
With Mike Skinner the king of geezer rap, it was only right he showed love for Bruza, whose strong cockney accent stood out in the grime scene (along with Fender). He stands out on this one for me. For someone who would bring so much energy on his own songs, it’s nice to see him be a bit more reserved, spitting about the problems with the relationship he is in, how he has to choose to be a gentleman instead of a hooligan, and that he hopes it all pays off. Scratchy is next and he gets a bit more explicit. D Double E and Ghetts, again 2 MCs known for the energy they bring to songs, appear much more subdued than we were used to then, with D Double getting his romance on and talking about taking his girl on holiday, and Ghetts moving to a girl who has a man already.
This one is cool for showing us another side of MCs who were only really used to hearing on radio or raves.
3) Fit But You Know It remix feat. Kano, Donae’O, Lady Soverign and Tinchy Stryder
The original Fit But You Know It became a geezer anthem about a lads holiday, the remix brought it back home. Kano kicks things off in what would be his first video appearance, Donae’o who was also on hook duty … Lady Soverign, another one making one of her first video appearances has a cringe worthy exchange with a boy who won’t move to her, and Tinchy comes through at the end letting us all know that no matter how nice the girl thinks she is, she’s getting no love from him.
This one is really fun, everyone looks like they’re enjoying themselves, and looks so young. It brought the Fit But You Know It from the original and made it more relatable.
2) Get Out Of My House Remix feat. Bruza, Kano, Demon and D Double E
The funniest part about this one is how young and unassuming everyone is. Everyone on the tune bar one MC is telling the girl how she needs to leave because their mum is coming home! The highlight for me on this one is Demon. I was sure he could craft himself as a comedic MC based on this verse alone with bars like “get out of my house cause you’re just tryna tease me, I’d rather watch Big Brother on the TV” and “I know sweetboys, we’re straight up thugs here, and no glasses we drink out of mugs here.” Bruza tells us how the girl he has brought home has no interest in doing anything with him and just wants to smoke weed, Kano has to break the news that the girl needs to leave cause his mum’s home soon, and D Double E narrates worries about finding a condom, how the girlis going to get home now the last train is gone and having to rush her out once they are finished.
This is another fun one, with every MC having to deal with their own problems, a stark contrast to what we usually hear in songs about getting girls.
1) Pranging Out remix featuring Skepta, Wretch 32, Ghetts, Tinchy Stryder, Devilman, Bossman Birdie, Frisco
As good as everything else on this list is, there was only one winner when I was thinking about putttng it together . The lineup for this one is crazy and everyone is bringing their best. Everyone brings their a-game on this one, and you can see why some of them went on to become superstars and are still huge artists in 2020.
Skepta brings so much energy in the opening verse, spitting some classic bars incorporating all 3 titles of The Streets’ album. Wretch delivers some of the clever wordplay we love him for, Ghetts skips all over the beat with ferocious energy and multisyllabic rhymes, Tinchy, on the precipice of becoming a huge star, shows why he was so revered from such a young age, Devliman brings his unorthodox style, Bossman Birdie bringing that fresh out pen energy then Frisco rounds things off with a paranoid 16 bar verse.
When this song was released it was a big deal, Mike Skinner picked some of the biggest MCs in the game at the time and brought them together. I remember first hearing it on Logan and you just keep hearing these killer verses from some of your favourites. So this has to be number one for me.
Tomorrow we get the new The Streets mixtape and I imagine we will get remixes for these songs considering all the people that Mike Skinner has worked with over the years and his ear for new artists. But for now we can enjoy the classic they have already produced.