East London-based hip‑hop artist Plan B returns to his musical origins with his new single Ill Manors. It depicts last August’s riots, working class frustration on council estates—and hatred of the “posh boys” who rule us.
The lyrics are scathing. Plan B attacks the hatred of working class kids found in the media. “Look, there’s a ‘chav’—that means Council Housed And Violent,” he spits.
“Keep on believing what you read in the papers / Council estate kids—scum of the earth.”
This is an artist who hasn’t forgotten the roots of his music or forgiven the demonisation of his class. The chorus explodes with rage: “Oi! I said Oi! / What you looking at, you little rich boy?”.
The song closes with the lyrics 'There’s no such thing as broken Britain / We’re just bloody broke in Britain / What needs fixin’ is the system / Not shop windows down in Brixton'
Throughout Ill Manors, Plan B deals with the background of the riots—the closing down of community centres, the Olympics, attacks by Boris Johnson and the Tories, and police crackdowns.
Musically this is a return to the hip-hop of Who Needs Actions When You’ve Got Words, Plan B’s 2006 debut album.
He’s proven wrong those who thought that the soul sound of 2010’s The Defamation of Strickland Banks marked a permanent turn towards more mainstream and less angry music.
Plan B says Ill Manors is much more than a new track. It is already a video, it will become a film—and later a project to address the roots of the riots.
He wants to help finance those who do social work in estates and whose funding is now dependent on charity thanks to government cuts.
Recent reviews have compared Plan B to Marvin Gaye or The Clash. But it is the comparison with Public Enemy that fits best.
Ill Manors is a class project, from the estates, by the estates, one which sounds and feels like them.
In a recent interview with Mistajam on BBC Radio 1 Xtra, Plan B gave a glimpse of what the Ill Manors project might look like.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to amass an army of people that can help me change the things I think I can change,” he said.
For now, he sees that primarily as charity and social work. But the rage of the Ill Manors track points to a much wider vision.
Plan B: Ill Manors EP
Released 25 March