The Streets was an English hip hop and U.K. garage project from Birmingham, England, led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mike Skinner and has included several other contributors, most notably drummer Johnny Drum Machine, vocalist Kevin Mark Trail and the Italian-American beatmaker Leroy. The Streets came together as a duo in 1994 with Johnny Drum Machine and Kevin Mark Trail. Skinner signed on in the late 1990s.
In 2001 the indie label, Locked On, released The Streets’ first single, “Has It Come to This?,” which peaked at #18 on the U.K. Singles chart, while becoming a breakthrough single for the group. Their 2002 debut album, “Original Pirate Material,” originally rose to #12 on the U.K. Albums chart in 2002, and then peaked at #10 in 2004. The album earned the group a Mercury Prize Nomination in the U.K. The success of “Original Pirate Material” in the U.K. led to a U.S. release of the album through Vice/Atlantic later in 2002. The album reached #2 on the Billboard Electronic Albums chart and the Top 20 of the Billboard Independent and Heatseekers Albums charts in 2003.
In 2004 the band's popularity grew with the release of the hit single, “Fit But You Know It,“ which went to #4 on the U.K. Singles chart. The single appeared on their sophomore album, “A Grand Don't Come for Free,” which was a rap opera following the story of its protagonist's relationship with a girl named Simone, alongside the mysterious loss of money from his home. The album reached #1 on the U.K. Albums chart and #82 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The second single from the album, “Dry Your Eyes,” debuted at #1 in the U.K.
The group's third album, “The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living” emerged in 2006, peaking at #1 on the U.K. Albums chart. In the U.S. the recorded reached #68 on the Billboard 200.
In 2008, their fourth studio album, “Everything Is Borrowed,” was released in the U.K. It became their fourth consecutive Top 10 album, peaking at #7. Referred to by Skinner as a mixtape consisting of various recordings he had made since he finished work on the final The Streets album, The Streets issued, “Cyberspace and Reds,” in 2011. Their final album, “Computers and Blues,” followed later that year. In the U.K. reached #8 on the Albums chart.