I must admit; I’m sad that Mike Skinner is retiring…or is he? The British rapper (who’s been wildly successful in his home country, not so much on these shores) recently gave an interview with British magazine The Guardian and said that he’s retiring The Streets after releasing his fifth album, Computer and Blues. However, does this mean that Skinner is never making an album again? Or is he just retiring The Streets name?

While Skinner might not be terribly fond of his third and fourth efforts, I actually consider The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living and Everything is Borrowed to be very high-quality albums, even if they’re not the stylistic equals of his excellent 2002 debut Original Pirate Material. To be fair, it would be kinda hard to top an album that good. On one hand, I respect the guy for realizing that maybe he doesn’t have the same fire in his belly and would rather find something else to do than make half-ass albums for the rest of his life. More musicians should follow suit. However, as a fan, it’s never easy to wrestle with the knowledge that someone whose work you admire so much might be calling it quits.

Besides, who knows if Skinner’s decision will stick. How many artists have retired only to make a triumphant (or not so triumphant) return at a later date? (that was a rhetorical question by the way, otherwise we’ll be here all day giving examples). I guess all I can hope for (for now) is that Computer and Blues lives up to the standard Skinner has set with his fantastic catalog so far and hope that American audiences finally get hip to an artist who deserves to be a little higher up on the commercial food chain than he is.

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