PLAN B<br />“Three years ago he was a hoodie-clad rapper – now Plan B is living up to his name and changing tack. But is his soul-boy reinvention a dangerous game.” <br />
INTRODUCTION…<br /><ul><li>Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew (born 22 October 1983), primarily known as Plan B or Ben Drew, is a British rapper, singer-songwriter, actor and film director from Forest Gate, London.
Plan B first emerged as a hip hop artist releasing his critically acclaimed début album Who Needs Actions When You Got Words in 2006. His second studio album The Defamation of Strickland Banks (2010) was a soul record and went straight into the UK album chart at no. 1.
He has also collaborated with other artists such as Chase & Status most notably on </li></ul>the top ten single "End Credits" (2009).<br /><ul><li>Drew has also had a successful film career as an actor,</li></ul> with roles in Adulthood (2008), Harry Brown (2009) <br />and 184.108.40.206 (2010). In 2011, he will release Ill Manors, <br />his first film as a director.<br />“I mean, the reason I decided to call myself ‘Plan B’ in the first place was because originally I was a soul singer and then I changed my style to hip hop”<br />Ben Drew in ‘Adulthood’ 2008<br />
From his debut album in 2005, ‘who needs actions when you’ve got words’, Plan b has changed from producing hip-hop, rap records to soul music inspired by the likes of Amy Winehouse and Smokey Robinson, on his second album called ‘The defamation of Strickland banks’, which was released in 2010 and is a concept album surrounding the life of a fictional character, ‘Strickland Banks’. <br />The album cover from his first album depicts and suggests a rough life, signifying to listeners the musical content. <br />ALBUMS…<br />Plan b hasn’t relied on using close-ups of his face on his cover, and instead has used the concept of the album to sell his music.<br />Plan b’s debut album in 2005, <br />‘Who needs actions when you got words’<br />
Plan B’s second album,' The Defamation of Strickland Bank’s’ cover differs, as itportrays an alotmore refined person from what he’s wearing, and it focuses on a fictional character, ‘Strickland Banks’. By having the album title in a banner often seen used to advertise bands/artists at the location of their upcoming gig, suggests the musical content being about this character’s life in the limelight. <br />Lyrically the album's songs tell the fictitious tale of one Strickland Banks, a sharp-suited British soul singer who finds fame with bitter-sweet love songs like the album's opener "Love Goes Down", but then loses everything when he ends up in prison for a crime he didn't commit.<br />Like Plan B’s debut album<br /> cover, this one focuses on <br />the concept not <br />Plan B himself, and uses <br />the content of the album <br />to sell itself. <br />Plan B’s second album from 2010, ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’<br />So both album covers suggest the differing musical content of the albums, and represent Plan B’s change in image.<br />
VIDEOS… <br />His videos accompanying his debut album, all depict a narrative, which is the same as the videos on his second album, however the main difference is how he represents himself. In videos like ‘No more eatin’, or ‘Mama’, (from his debut) he represents himself as the stereotypical ‘hoodie’, appearing in tracksuits and rapping about his rough up-bringing around his hometown of Forest Gates. <br />Compare this to his second album, where in videos like ‘Prayin’, we see him performing more, with a bigger cast of dancers and singers.Instead of wearing tracksuits, he has refined his image by wearing formal suits- even when he performs live, in order to capture the essence this fictional character ‘Strickland Banks’. <br />2010:<br />2006:<br />
‘Mama (loves a crackhead) 2006, from ‘Who needs actions when you got words’<br />‘Mama (loves a crackhead)’ is a performance/narrative video, telling a story based on Plan B’s mother’s relationship with her ‘crackhead’ boyfriend. It begins like a film, as we see him arguing with his mum’s boyfriend, and develops from there.<br />http://'Mama' 2006 <br />
‘Stay too Long’ 2010 from, ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’<br />‘Stay too Long’ is also a performance/narrative video, however Plan B makes use of a big cast of dancers, back-up singers and shows the band. Along with Plan B’s other videos from his second album, this one is set in the 60’s, and it tells us the story of the night after ‘Strickland Banks’ has just performed at one of his concerts. <br />http://'Stay too Long' 2010<br />
How successful were both albums?<br />‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’ has been more commercially successful than his debut, reaching number 1 in the album charts, and has achieved a combination of a number 1 single with ‘She said’ and a number 3 with ‘Stay too Long’.<br />‘Who needs actions when you got words’<br />‘The defamation of Strickland Banks’ <br />The album reached and peaked at #30 in<br />the UK album chart when it was released <br />in June 2006.<br />The album debuted on the UK Albums Chart at <br />No. 1, selling 68,173 copies in its first week <br />Q magazinerated the album 64th in their <br />100 Best Albums of 2006.<br />“The critics tended to compare this work with Plan B's previous album, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, from four years earlier. The change from "spectacularly violent soliloquies" on his debut to crooning soul on his second effort caught some reviewers by surprise, though not all unhappily”<br />