In a week which has seen the nation celebrating the return of the Olympic games to Britain and championing the revival of national pride across the nation, Plan B makes a more than welcome return with a reality check for all of us and how Great Britain may not be as great as we like to think it is. Ill Manors is Plan B’s third album and the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, which he wrote and directed. Ill Manors is not your typical straightforward movie soundtrack. It’s an uncompromising and harsh look on British society as he drags us through the “urban safari” of London’s crime ridden and deprived council estates.
Those who fell in love with Plan B’s music because of the hugely popular The Defamation of Strickland Banks will be in for a shock. The soul and R&B are gone. Plan B returns to his rap and grime roots of his debut album Who Needs Actions When You Got Words. The album is angry from the kick off, opening with the incredible title track. Sampling Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, it’s a damning outlook on Cameron’s Britain, mocking his hug a hoodie campaign and the poor economic climate: “There’s no such thing as broken Britain. We’re just bloody broke in Britain.”
Plan B is a phenomenal story teller and each track has its own unique story. Some of the images that he presents to us are truly horrifying, whether it be a Eastern European mother prostituting herself just to look after her newborn, in The Runaway or a nine year old child being assaulted by a racist friend of his heroin addicted mum in Drug Dealer. These awful images convey the hopelessness of those living in these estates.
Overall, Ill Manors is yet another fantastic album from the East London artist. Bleak and thought provoking. It’s a brilliant social commentary, with great production and lyrics. Definitely one of the best albums of the year so far.
5 out of 5