Plan B - Ill Manors
- By Matthew Laidlow -
- Jul 24, 2012
Did you become a fan of Plan B when he was releasing soulful tracks from his second album ‘The Defamation Of Strickland Banks’? Chances are that when you heard the relaxed sway of ‘Stay Too Long’, you were hooked. Whilst Plan B opened himself up to a national audience, those who were aware of his work after listening to his debut ‘Who Needs Actions When You Got Words’ would have been slightly confused.
Back in 2006 when Who Needs Actions When You Got Words’ was released, grime was the sound of the day. Sifting through the racks of record shops offered an endless supply of underground acts that impressed alongside awful home produced rhymes and beats that had criminally been committed to vinyl. Plan B caught the attention of many due to his no holds barred lyrics that painted a visual portrait of his not so perfect life experiences.
The subject matter was raw and the language just as colourful as you’d expect from a hip-hop album. But instead of dropping in the occasional swearword for the fun of it, the album was emotional charged and was rightly praised as one of the stand out releases from 2006. That’s right, Plan B aka Ben Drew has been around for a lot longer than you might think.
Plan B has himself admitted that ‘The Defamation Of Strickland Banks’ was a change of direction and future albums such as ‘Ill Manors’ may confuse and alienate fans. But should he care? Not really. He’s singing from the heart and telling stories he’s experienced. It might sound brutal but it’s better coming from him than someone trying to pretend to be from a working class background who’s experienced trauma and upset.
People might say that talk of sex, violence and drugs has been done; however this album compliments the first feature film that Plan B has directed, also called Ill Manors. Whilst he is an accomplished musician, Plan B has appeared in a number of gritty films depicting the struggle of modern day life. Starring in cult classic ‘Adulthood’, he came into his own when featuring alongside screen legend Michael Caine in Harry Brown.
For a soundtrack album, it might seem strange to remark at the length of it, but frequently, the soundtrack might sound brilliant, but if a scene is only forty seconds long, then the piece of music isn’t expanded into a full track. Instead, you’re given the literal composed track and no reference to where it slots in within the film. With ‘Ill Manors’ extracts from the film are moulded in and the two end up complimenting each other.
This is a much more familiar sound and almost true to Plan B’s original music roots. Those who enjoyed ‘The Defamation Of Strickland Banks’ might be put off, but the musical diversity is still matched with high quality production and storytelling, but on a much blunter and direct scale.
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