Plan B – The Defamation of Strickland Banks
To change the entire genre of performance for a musical act is considered to be an incredibly ambitious move and is often beyond comprehension for most, and with good reason, there are many bands and solo artists who try and reinvent their image to target the more popular audiences and fail miserably. But when executed correctly, an entire new fan-base can be created as well as maintaining interest for the original fans that have blessed said act with their support.
In the case of British hip-hop excitement Plan B (a.k.a Benjamin Drew), his tough, rebellious rapper image has been metamorphasised into the alter ego of Strickland Banks. A classy, soul musician who preaches his blues of false conviction and broken hearts through conventional soul techniques as well as glimpses of his hardcore rapping style within tracks like Stay Too Long and Darkest Place. However Drew’s crooning proves to be just as effective as his freestyle rapping in his compositions, and in the rare occasion of a hybrid of both talents, is where his best music truly shines.
The Defamation of Strickland Banks is first and foremost, a concept album by Plan B, with recurring imagery and references to the wrongful conviction of his fictional counterpart and what consequences are entailed with a public figure being locked away. The lyrical component to Darkest Place makes reference to the psychological effects of life in prison as well as the more brutal aspects of life behind bars; “I’m in the darkest place I think I’ve ever been you can see from the scars on my face I’m not where I’m supposed to be”
Plan B’s monstrously huge single She Said is more than likely common knowledge amongst most music lovers and it is clear to see why. This track contains all the necessary practices of a hit pop single; catchy lyrics, beautifully smooth vocals and a hip-hop styled breakdown section that is becoming increasingly popular amongst artists wishing to crack through to the metaphorical gold mine that is the mainstream audiences.