Über Plan B
Intense, unremitting and coarse, Plan B stalks a post-hip-hop hinterland of lost boys and girls terrorizing one another across a blank British cityscape of franchise-packed highways, needle-strewn byways and panic-riven homes. Drugs, casual sex and even more casual violence form the staple themes of debut LP Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, describing a generation stuck between the desire for escape and the absence of the necessary tools or support. It's this brand of frustration that first fired East London native Ben Drew into launching a music career. He quit college to pen R&B bangers but ended up unemployed, dealing drugs and learning his way around the acoustic guitar. Some stark songwriting emerged ("Kidz," "Sick 2 Def"), followed by stints at rock clubs (when he started rapping he says "everybody's jaw would drop to the floor") and then a deal with U.K. label 679, also home to the Streets. While it's easy to draw parallels between Plan B's take-no-prisoners approach and Eminem's, it may be wiser to compare their work with that of Everlast: Drew is a sincere, streetwise soul who marries a love of hip-hop with a wider appreciation of lyrical rock.