I think I discovered The Streets the year before I started high school. I’m not quite aware of the timeline, but I definitely recall being aware of ‘Fit But You Know It‘ when I decided to give A Grand Don’t Come For Free the following year, in 2005. In early 2006 I discovered ‘When You Wasn’t Famous‘, and it somehow ended up in constant rotation on my old ‘1,2,3,4’ playlist. This playlist was an combination of four seperate playlists which I would usually listen to while playing video games. While this playlist wasn’t being used, I would sometimes utilise a different artist’s discography depending on the video game. For example, System Of A Down were perfect for Burnout 2: Point Of Impact, and Metallica were well suited towards ATV: Quad Power Racing 2. However, I digress, and despite the cringeworthy nature of ‘When You Wasn’t Famous’ at times, it served as a gateway of sorts for me to discover the rest of The Streets’ discography.
As it stand, The Streets’ Mike Skinner is a completely unassuming figure. To look at him, one would almost never assume he holds the lyrical and rhythmic prowess that he deomstrates on The Streets’ studio albums. In face, if anything, he looks like the sort of guy who would be more suited towards the role of ‘merch guy’, rather than frontman. But it almost seems as though it is this ability to look like a typical everyman that made Mike Skinner’s music so accessible to the masses, even those who weren’t particularly aware of the English culture and references that he speaks of or references.
The beauty of ‘Has It Come To This?’ lies in its simplicity. Rather than adopting the hip-hop mainstays of bragadoccio and bling, Skinner just lies down the simple facts about what your average ‘day in the life of a geezer’ is all about. ‘Sex, drugs, and on the dole’ is the underlying message to the track, and it finds a way to unite all of its listeners through its gritty narration about what the UK hip-hop scene is all about.
As music blogger Sam Walton once put it, the track invokes a “sense of togetherness – less a “come with me”, more a “come with us””, and Skinner’s ability as an artist is impeccable in the fact that “no other artist of the last ten years has implored the listener to “make yourself at home” with such nonchalant but sincere invitation.”