Monday, 19 March 2012
-Music Videos on my Mind- Plan B’s “Ill Manors”
Ben Drew, aka Plan B, has ditched his lucrative Hall & Oates inspired sound and returned to his hip-hop roots. Unlike his previous album The Defamation of Strickland Banks, which greatly profited the singer by selling in excess of a million copies, Plan B's new album Ill Manors sounds more polemical in nature, packaged to lose fans with its angry narrative and aggressive beats.
With an appropriately ghetto music video to boot, Ill Manors is assembled to court the attention of a young British music market turned on by images of dilapidated social housing and the thuggish kids that reside in them.
The trouble is Plan B's now a multi-millionaire performer cashing in on the riots and violence that frames contemporary British youth culture. On closer inspection of the music video one can detect a fleeting glimpse of British Asian actor Riz Amed joining in the mayhem: the same Riz Ahmed that graduated from Oxford University and then studied acting at the prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama. Furthermore, the video is directed by Yann Demange, a guy whose film school education was sponsored by the wholesome Disney Corporation.
Ill Manors is about as phony as any other manufactured pop music product, however, one must give respect to Plan B for abandoning a successful formula that has served him so well and instead embracing a riskier strategy. Ill Manors is likely to prove very successful, even if the end product is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
Also, it's good to hear politicised music back in the British charts again.