Intense, unremitting and coarse, Plan B stalks a post-hip-hop hinterland of lost boys and girls terrorising one another across a blank British cityscape of franchise-packed highways, needle-strewn byways and panic-riven homes. Drugs, casual sex and even more casual violence form the staple themes of debut LP Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, describing a generation roadblocked between the desire for flight or escape and the absence of the necessary tools or support. It’s this brand of frustration that first fired East London native Ben Drew into launching a music career. He quit college to pen R&B bangers but ended up unemployed, small-time drug dealing and learning his way around the acoustic guitar. Some stark songwriting emerged (“Kidz”, “Sick 2 Def”), followed by stints at rock clubs (when he started rapping “everybody’s jaw would drop to the floor”) and then a deal with UK label 679, also home to The Streets. While it’s easy to draw parallels between Plan B’s take-no-prisoners approach and Eminem’s, it may be wiser to compare his work with Everlast: a sincere, streetwise soul who marries a love of hip-hop with a wider appreciation of lyrical rock.
Plan B also plays the role of Noel in the recently released Harry Brown, starring alongside Michael Caine. The film also features his collaboration, “End Credits” with drum and bass producers Chase & Status. See it here