Where other hip hop artists have faltered, Ben Drew (aka Plan B) has risen. Not just in the charts, nor from his east end town of Forrest Gate but he’s risen as an artist. He doesn’t feign destitution but narrates the story that accompanies his feature film boldly and accurately.
If you were hoping for a follow up to the soul orientated number no. 1 album ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’, I have some bad news. ill Manors is a heartfelt and heavily laden hip hop album brought directly from the fierce streets of east London.
Drew’s deconstruction of poverty in Britain is brutal yet simultaneously brilliant. A harsh reality accompanies his poetry and we’re constantly reminded of this with commanding and dramatic excerpts of dialogue from the motion picture.
‘Drug Dealer’ (featuring Takura) is one of the most imperative tracks to feature – introducing the listener to the character they’re yet to meet. A driving narrative brings the audience towards the modern day after following the upbringing of a boy named Chris in a narcotic-centric world. Drew sets the scene with “In 1975 there was this chick named Jennet, a pregnant heroin addict who said she didn’t plan it…”
Drug Dealer, in essence, outlines the premise of the film. Chris is born into an already shattered world and Drew’s observations make it clear that there stands little hope in his future “what an environment to raise a kid, round crack dealer’s houses with racist pricks”.
Although Plan B has ranked his story telling highly on the list of things to do, it would be improper to not mention his commitment to a pop hook. ‘Deepest Shame’ is about as close as you’re going to get if you’re looking for something like the number 1 single ‘She Said’ – demonstrating Drew’s capability to both sing and rap.
If you haven’t yet tuned into this album, I highly recommend you do – it’s dark, dramatic, theatrical and incomparable to anything on the hip hop scene at the moment. It’s a depiction of our time.
The direction of Ben Drew’s work is designed to shock and it’s clear he hosts an unmatchable aptitude to do just that.
Published at IAreYeti