Skinnyman is an English rapper who was born in Leeds and moved to London at a young age. He formed the Mud Family with Mongo and Chester P, a hip-hop group which released a number of EPs. These included such records as Itchy Town and Lash Suttin, a reworking of Redman‘s Smash Something. Skinnyman released a solo album, Council Estate of Mind in 2004, and it was heavily autobiographical and socially critical. He has made several television appearances, including the first episode of Tower Block Dreams, a 2004 documentary series on BBC Three which looked into the underground music scene in council estates (taken verbatim from Wikipedia).
In “Council Estate of Mind”, Skinnyman describes the horrors and challenges the he must face living in the social housing projects of London.
We know that we have been living our lives through the hardest times,
Still we know that we must keep up the faith in our hearts and minds.
British Slang and Vocabulary
- council estates (noun) – a large group of affordable houses for the working class, built by local government agencies. As in many large cities, there tends to be more crime and drugs in London’s working class neighborhoods, especially within the council estates.
- blud (noun) – brother; friend. Hey, blud! What’s up?
- do a runner – to leave or run away from somewhere in a hurry, especially to avoid paying a bill or receiving a punishment. I made a huge mistake at work, and I’m thinking about doing a runner.
- yute (noun) – the youth, children, young people. The yutes have nothing to do after school. They are exposed to more crime and drugs because they play on the streets.
- nuts (adjective) – crazy. If my neighbor does not turn down the music, I will go nuts!
- raw (adjective) – honest, direct and sometimes shocking. Life in the council estates is bleak and raw. You have to be tough to make it on the streets.
- Bobbby / Feds / coppers (noun) – the police. The Feds spend a lot of time harassing the immigrant yutes. They should be working harder to prevent crime.
- cotch (verb) – to hang out, relax or chill; to loiter alone or with friends. The yutes have nothing to do after school, so they usually cotch by the train station and smoke drugs.
- shotter (noun) – a drug dealer. There are shotters around every corner in the council estates, and they are in the middle of a bloody turf war.
- merk (verb) – to kill someone; to murder. I hope my friend stops selling drugs because somebody might merk him!
- splurt (verb) – leave; get out. This party is boring, so let’s splurt.
Do you live in a rough neighborhood? Have you ever lived in a rough neighborhood? Does your country have something like council estates? According to Skinnyman’s track, what problems do people face on a daily basis? Please write your comments below!