Lime feature- Screen
Semper - Azeez -Harris
The Defamation Of Strickland Banks (2010) launched Plan B as an artist into the commercial world with his soulful cuts that brought him huge acclaim, Ill Manors (2012) is however a return to the hip-hop and bars which he displayed in his debut album Who Needs Action When You Got Words (2006)
Ill Manors is an album that is brimming with a social polemical voice and takes listeners into hip-hop that does more than drop you an intoxicating beat but actually calls for you to sit and really listen-after all hip-hop historically delved into social issues with a visceral relish as a way to give those not privy to the benefits of the rich a platform to tell their story: Ill Manors does that in copious amounts. Mr Drug Dealer, Live Once and of course Lost My Way off the album are just some of the tracks that completely immerse you in an England where the youth are on the brink of a catastrophic, clearly imminent melt down where drugs, promiscuity and abuse are rife.
Ill Manors however is more than your generic run of the mill album. It is intrinsically woven with the film that was written and directed by Plan B of the same name. Of course the economic benefits of doing this also should not be missed- from creating the film to creating the album track that accompanies the film this is an astute move. Economics aside however what he does with this album is create a concept album of sorts. The Defamation of Strickland Banks whilst delving into a clean cut soulful edge was at its core a hip-hop album being a concept in the shape of Strickland Banks as an alter ego.
Ill Manors takes the concept album idea and adds a bit here a little bit there and creates something huge. The film which is sampled heavily in the Ill Manors album (as you might expect) is evidently part of Plan B taking the concept album just that bit further and slightly at a tangent as the album does more than give musical entertainment but in some respects gives you a deeper understanding of the film. The film evidently repays the album by giving a deeper understanding of the lyrics in songs.
Unfortunately the film has received mixed reviews and this has possibly sullied the perhaps lofty expectations of Plan B but the album is a great album with stupendous collaborations- Kano’s appearance on Live Once is a piano driven number where Kano positively tears the track apart with some lyrical dexterity. Whilst the remix of Lost My Way is not on the album you need to hear the seminal Raekwon from the influential Wu Tang it’s a serious collaboration and shows Plan B’s huge influence.
Plan B in this current guise is therefore a direct almost antagonistic force to the clean cut, stylised image that Plan B showcased so successfully in his second album: old skool beats, break-beats and a dark ominous feel proliferate this album which helps in a sense to keep listeners always on the edge.
What this album is clearly showing is that Plan B recognises the importance of keeping listeners surprised and keeping things “fresh” which obviously becomes harder the longer you have been in music but indeed it is his pursuit of something “fresh” that will keep him in music for a long time-absolutely love this album.