Anyone who has come to the music of Plan B via his fantastically successful album “The Defamation of Strickland Banks” might find his new single “Ill Manors” to be something of a shock.
For starters, the Motown soul backing has gone, the suit’s in the bin, and he’s now rapping furiously about the damning picture painted of people from council estates by the media. The same media – hysterical tabloid newspapers, right wing press, hand-wringing broadsheets and 24 hour rolling news channels looking for the most dramatic TV footage – which then sets the agenda for politicians to follow, with the result that whole urban communities can become effective no-go areas, cut off from the city in which they live, by fear.
It’s a pretty scary song, sarcastically calling out anyone who would seek to dismiss poor urban youth as rioters, muggers and fighters by emphasising the stereotypes heaped upon their heads and making them seem worse. As a protest song, it’s impact is visceral. “Blowin’ In The Wind” did not have the chorus “oi! I said OI! What you lookin’ at, you little rich boy?” after all.
Luckily, Plan B gave a speech recently, explaining what it is he’s trying to do, and where the song fits into his film “Ill Manors.” The video was posted over the weekend, and it’s a remarkable thing, particularly towards the end:
Not bad for a pop star, eh?