Plan B, or Ben Drew as his mum knows him, is an interesting chappie. He has released two albums, acted in Harry Brown and Adulthood, and even directed and starred in his own film. Most of us know him for the singles, ‘Stay Too Long’ and ‘She Said’.
‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’ is the rapper turned soul singers sophomore album and if Motown Records was setting up in the 21st century, Mr Drew would definitely be on their roster. Drew has an uncanny knack of being able to take a classic soul sound and mould it with his occasional rap runs and 21st century technology to turn this into quite a distinctive sound.
As well as the two hit singles, there are a string of tracks that could easily be promoted as singles themselves including ‘Darkest Place’ and ‘Hard Times’.
Overall Plan B’s album is tender or brash when it needs to be, thoughtful, insightful and lyrically speaks of murder, drugs and addiction in such a clever way that you really have to listen to the lyrics, otherwise you’d never know.
This has to be one of the most intelligent albums of recent times and will catapult UK hiphop and soul to compete with its US counterparts.