A Grand Don't Come for Free

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
A Grand Don't Come for Free Music Poster Image
Intriguing punk-rap operetta for older teens.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

A delightfully honest but astonishingly self-absorbed world view.


A fistfight or two.


A few non-explicit sexual references.


The "s" and "f" words are used in story-telling context.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few references to drugs and drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that athough not for everyone, this is an imaginative concept album that explores the minutiae of life and relationships.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byForknose April 9, 2008

Finally good rap

I have been waiting for years for an interesting rap thing with depth. Here you are. This album is emotional and better then Original Pirate Material. It's... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bybballdiaries April 9, 2008

love the streets

this is my favorite CD it is soo good u dont even know. though not many people know of the streets/ mike skinner, i think he should become mainstream in north a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Lost money, a broken TV, and girlfriend problems are themes repeated throughout A GRAND DON'T COME FOR FREE, as our hero (Michael Skinner, recording as The Streets) struggles with the limitations of his life and his own emotional shortcomings. Gritty and funny, the descriptions of isolated moments in time are songwriting at its evocative best. But the most memorable moments are also the most sentimental. "Dry Your Eyes," in which the girlfriend finally leaves for good, works not because of our hero's expression of overwhelming sadness, but because of the description of a detail: "She peels away my fingers, looks at me and then gestures/By pushin' my hand away to my chest, from hers."

Is it any good?

In mostly present-tense understatement, the CD leads us through the minutiae of a few days in the life of a troubled young man, with exquisite, unflinching honesty. There is some strong language, used well in lyrical context, and references to drinking and drugs. For those older teens with enough maturity and perspective, this is a gem of an album -- quirky, innovative, and interesting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the story is told in song, and this album might inspire older teens to write their own stories.

Music details

  • Artist: The Streets
  • Release date: May 18, 2004
  • Labels: Atlantic, Vice
  • Genre: Rap
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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