I do not understand this The Streets lyric
January 28, 2007 5:40 AM   Subscribe

In British slang, does the word "dud" have a meaning other than failure?

In the track "The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living" by The Streets, the following line confuses me:

"We've got two fifty grand in the budget to go
Subtract five for club promo
Lose five for a good video and fifteen for a dud video, fuck that"

I'm assuming that five means 5,000 and fifteen means 15,000. If "dud" means failure, as it does in American English, why would it cost more? Is the lyric commentary on currently popular music video producers?

Side question: As a mid to late 90's bay area mid-tempo "gansta/playa" rap aficionado, are there any British artists similar to The Streets that I should look into? (Sorry for the strangely-elaborate description of my rap taste, but I had originally phrased my question in a way that ignored the presence of several new pop-rap varieties which I do not care for.)
posted by hooves to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe he's saying that the "dud video" wasn't worth the price - that he got a good video for far cheaper than a bad one. I always understood "dud" to mean "bad" or "not worth it" - sorta like how cars are sometimes referred to as "lemons".
posted by divabat at 5:53 AM on January 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: what divabat said. If you want to check out some other British stuff like the Streets and your elaborate description of your tastes, I'd suggest Dizzee Rascal, and maybe Jaime T.
posted by minifig at 6:10 AM on January 28, 2007

Agree with divabat on the meaning of 'dud', and I think hooves' suggestion that it's a commentary on currently popular music video producers is pretty close to the truth.

I understood the line to mean that, in Mike Skinner's experience, the more he pays for a music video, the worse the result.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 6:12 AM on January 28, 2007

Yep, "dud" meaning "crappy".
posted by unmusic at 6:15 AM on January 28, 2007

'Dud' means crap, but 'duds' means clothes. Specifically, fashionable clothes.
posted by veedubya at 6:20 AM on January 28, 2007

More specifically, "dud" means: "I expected it to work, but it didn't". I'm pretty sure it comes from bullets/explosives originally - but most uses of it I've heard do have this component of expectation, still, rather than something just meaning "bad" or "crappy".

If you really enjoy The Streets' evocation of British life as a young, poor, disaffected kid in the 90's and early 2000s, into drinking and clubbing with his mates, then something to check out is the film Human Traffic, which has always reminded me of Original Pirate Material in tone and subject material.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:28 AM on January 28, 2007

Response by poster: Ok. So far, it looks like everyone who has answered the question has, to some extent, agreed with my take on the lyric. Still, I would love for someone to come and blow us all away with some sort of obscure slang knowledge!

minifig: Thanks for the rec! I downloaded some Jaime T and although I was a bit turned off at first by the pseudo-reggae that dominates my college campus, it wasn't terrible. Still there is something really unique about Skinner's flow (I would characterize it as methodical) that I love. Are there underground British artists who have a similar sound?

Jon Mitchell: Human Traffic is now at the top of my netflix queue.
posted by hooves at 6:42 AM on January 28, 2007

Response by poster: I'm sorry for the OP clutter, but:

minifig: I just finished downloading Dizzee Rascal, unbelievably awesome. Thanks you so much, this is really better than I could have hoped for!
posted by hooves at 6:56 AM on January 28, 2007

Try Plan B (recent) or Skinnyman (older)
posted by patricio at 7:11 AM on January 28, 2007

The British seem to have an interesting habit of using nouns as adjectives. It's something of a crap habit, if you ask me.
posted by koeselitz at 9:36 AM on January 28, 2007

You might appreciate these reviews from Friday's Guardian then.
posted by Flashman at 10:00 AM on January 28, 2007

Yes, it's a dud, as in I bought this and it doesn't work.
posted by A189Nut at 10:23 AM on January 28, 2007

Lily Allen is often cited as the "new Streets", but if you like The Streets you definitely have to check out Jamie T's "Panic Prevention". The single "Sheila" is fantastic.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:28 PM on January 28, 2007

Roots Manuva is a really good British rapper too. Can't say he's like Mike Skinner exactly but he is funny and affecting.
posted by tiny crocodile at 3:09 PM on January 28, 2007

Seconding Plan B - his style is *very* influenced by Mike Skinner
posted by blag at 4:43 PM on January 28, 2007

Mama | No Good | Missin Links
posted by blag at 4:54 PM on January 28, 2007

I've gotten a lot of listening out of Run the Road, which I think served as a first introduction to grime for many in the US. There's a little something for everyone on that record. And while you're at it, Simon Wheatley did some great work documenting the makers of grime (you want "chapter two" for the grime stuff, and there's more in the magnum archive), though Skinner's nowhere to be seen.
posted by msbrauer at 7:46 PM on January 28, 2007

The music style you are looking for is called Grime I think(Wikipedia).
It's hard and dark, but awesome, The Streets don't fall into the category that well, but they are definately similar to some of the artists.
Roots Manuva is great, I practically grew up on that. And then there is Dizzee Rascal. Someone mentioned Human Traffic which is an awesome movie to watch! Also check out Modulations, but that's a bit of an old electronic music documentary.
posted by Uno at 11:57 PM on January 28, 2007

I'm pretty sure it comes from bullets/explosives originally

Add "fireworks" to that list :)
posted by -harlequin- at 3:25 AM on January 29, 2007

You don't lose quite as much money on a good video than on a bad one. A good one lets you recoup some of the costs. The point is that you lose money either way.
posted by electroboy at 7:59 AM on January 29, 2007

Surprised no-one has mentioned "Goldie Lookin Chain" yet.

It's the closest analogue to The Streets as I can think of, being that most of the other artists listed here have skills.
posted by fishfucker at 11:47 AM on January 29, 2007

and by skills i mean "not novelty rap". Sorry GLC and Streets, but you are.
posted by fishfucker at 11:49 AM on January 29, 2007

Also check out Ty, Wylie, Cappo, Jehst, Klashnekof, Shystie, Skitz, and Dirty Diggers.

I'll double up on the recommendation for Roots Manuva.

(Whatever gets you away from The Streets.)
posted by Coda at 9:00 AM on January 30, 2007

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