At a time when all newspapers want to write a Thinkpiece on juvenile delinquency, point out the usual places, ignore the nuances, ignore racist and classicist systems, Skinny begging us the opportunity to hold our anthem high, with Skinny begging us, our listeners, to take advantage of the situation we find ourselves in, the ray of hope we need in an album that seemed dark. At a time when the barriers between British hip-hop and crime had not yet been overcome, when British hip-hop as a whole was considered a fashion, artists like Skinnyman, Sway and Klashnekoff, among others, closed the gap and laid the foundation for what we see now, when collaborations are common and artists begin and abandon genres. Skinnyman himself is a British legend, this album, which is his only release, has helped to build his status. And as we continue this descent into an even more savage and unjust society, the album will continue to be relevant, whether you go back there or listen to it for the first time. Throughout the rest of the album, Skinny plays a broken system as those who grow up in the booths get tired of the racist presence of the police and become suspicious and paranoid. The album’s classic status means that it was called by people who have no idea of Skinnyman’s story and his time in the British hip-hop scene, including me at the time. But if you look back, it makes sense, Skinnyman is obviously a white rapper, but not a “white rapper”, his race has never been at the top of his music, it is not his point of sale. For many people, this album is the first introduction to Skinnyman. Most of the album projects a feeling of desperation that there is only one way out of the Council’s legacy, and that this means you can go to jail or worse. The title song completes the album and brings us back to earth and is perhaps the most powerful song in today’s album. Fuck the Hook, the first real song, perfectly presents the myth of the thin man. It makes stories about the vicious circle of the prison system that locks people in and leaves them in the same situation as before, often leaving them with no choice but to resort again to crime to get out of it. This album created a mythology around Skinnyman that is bigger than him. I had never heard of Skinnyman, my greatest source of British music, and even that was rare because I didn’t have Sky, but this song immediately caught my attention. A Westwood 2 song is called Straight Outta Jail, by an artist named Skinnyman.
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