This song is about Knowle West, the area of Bristol in southwest England, where Tricky grew up. He told Mojo magazine February 2008: "My great-grandmother went to the same school that I did-Connaught School. There's one song called "Council Estate", which is about Knowle West. It's talked about as a violent area, but I don't know if that's fair, really. I'd say it comes down to education-if you're not educated to express yourself with words, you end up doing it with fists."
Many of the songs on the Knowle West Boy album also take their inspiration from the Bristol area where Tricky grew up, despite it being largely recorded on America's West Coast. Tricky explained to Mojo magazine: " It's about remembering where I come from. It feels like my first album, really - it's almost like the others don't exist."
This song is about Tricky's upbringing. He told The Sun July 4, 2008: "It has one of the first lyrics I wrote for the album. That song is like the stuff I live and I wanted to get it down on a record. The Specials influenced it."
Tricky explained to The Sun why he decided to revisit his childhood on this song and others on the album: "At school, there was a teacher who was really cool. He said: 'When you go for a job and reveal your Knowle West postcode, nine times out of ten you're not going to get it.' We weren't supposed to get anywhere, so I'm kinda proud. Four or five generations of my family lived there. My great-grandad was a horse dealer who took horses from Ireland to Bristol. He and my Uncle Arthur were bare-knuckle fighters and my Uncle Martin was a boxer."
This is the first single that Tricky's ever done with just himself on vocals. He explained on his record label's website: "I couldn't whisper that song. I had to come out of myself and do a loud, screaming vocal. I wanted to be a proper frontman on that one."