Universal acclaim - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 25
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 25
  3. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Original Pirate Material, to put it plainly, is the most vivid evocation of life as a young person in the UK since Blur's Parklife, and yes, even The Clash's first album.
  2. By adding grit and gutter-savvy humor, Skinner also takes U.K. garage to a new level, making for the year's most striking debut.
  3. Uncut
    The first record in a long while I've wanted to play again immediately after it's finished. [Album Of The Month, April 2002, p.92]
  4. There's plenty of detail, and feeling too--not just anger, tenderness.
  5. Original Pirate Material is England's first great hip-hop record mostly because it isn't a hip-hop record. It's hard to say exactly what it is.
  6. An album whose scope, diversity, wit and heart make it instantly the best album of 2002.
  7. Though club-phobic listeners may find it difficult placing Skinner as just the latest dot along a line connecting quintessentially British musicians/humorists/social critics Nöel Coward, the Kinks, Ian Dury, the Jam, the Specials, and Happy Mondays, Original Pirate Material is a rare garage album: that is, one with a shelf life beyond six months.
  8. What 'Original Pirate Material' makes abundantly clear though, is that - whilst Skinner may not be at the very cutting edge of Garage's club soundtrack - he's a man blessed with an astonishing aptitude for pop and a mainline into the Zeitgeist.
  9. Like many great albums, "Original Pirate Material" wasn't meant to be adored in an instant, so don't let your first impressions fool you. This cat's the real deal.
  10. Heard as a rap album, Original Pirate Material provides a compelling picture of the style wrapping itself around a different milieu. But taken on his own terms, Skinner reaches too deep and true to sound like anything but a remarkable talent in any genre.
  11. Mixer
    It's his lyrical earnestness that makes his decidedly British experience so universally appealing. [Nov 2002, p.76]
  12. Throughout the disc, his attention to detail and melody stretch well beyond his 22 years.
  13. Alternative Press
    While Original Pirate Material isn't as good as the U.K. press hyperbole would have us believe, it does prove that sentiment and sincerity are more interesting than slickness and skills. [Dec 2002, p.96]
  14. Q Magazine
    The odd portentous lapse and minor clunker aside, the rate of killer lines is remarkably high. [Mar 2002, p.115]
  15. The Wire
    His verbal style is notable because it avoids typical ragga chat or MC freestyling in favour of an almost literary blend of prose and verse. [#219, p.75]
  16. Mojo
    A winningly downbeat brand of urban realism, set to minimal, pounding drums. [Apr 2002, p.115]
  17. On the evidence of this excellent debut, few people can challenge Skinner right now except himself.
  18. By turns dark, funny and heartbreaking, the songs on 'Original Pirate Material' are snapshots of ordinary life as a young midlands resident, set to innovative two-step production.
  19. Blender
    The most distinctive producer-rapper Britain has coughed up since Tricky. [#11, p.143]
  20. Though it sounds strange at first, Skinner's delivery is so absorbing that the accent issue will be an afterthought before opener "Turn the Page" has ended.
  21. Skinner has an obvious talent for forging damn sharp hip-pop hooks that supercede his inherent verbal handicap.
  22. Urb
    The Streets' novel pairing of dance music and wordplay hits the mark more often than not, and it's a step in a potentially interesting direction. [Nov 2002, p.93]
  23. In the midst of its 14 tracks, there are a couple that, if taken on their own, would qualify as throwaways. But the way the album should be heard, as a whole, each piece works with the others.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 150 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 86 out of 94
  2. Negative: 7 out of 94
  1. danielw
    Jun 19, 2008
    Brilliant. the music i normally listen to is rock music, but this album is absolutely fantastic.
  2. Oct 22, 2014
    A modern British Classic. Mike Skinner's spoken lyrics encapsulate a side of British culture that a lot of people around the world would beA modern British Classic. Mike Skinner's spoken lyrics encapsulate a side of British culture that a lot of people around the world would be oblivious to. The beats which accompany the lyrics are flawless in places, especially for 'Turn The Page', 'Let's Push Things Forward' and 'Stay Positive'. By creating fusion between hip-hop and garage, delivered with lyrics in a regional accent, Skinner effectively invents his own genre. Not a bad way to introduce yourself to the music industry. Full Review »
  3. BibianeN
    May 16, 2008
    WONDERFUL. Amazingly, surprisingly goog album!