Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 14 January 2013

Plan B: Mercury Nominated Rapper Reaps The Benefits Of His Ever-Shifting Musical Landscape

Sometimes it must seem that if your name is Ben Drew and you release anything under the nom de plume of Plan B, then everyone and their granny will claim to have you pigeonholed not only as an artist, but as an individual too.


It sure don"t help when said artist is openly honest in interviews about his hopes, fears and goals.

It also puts backs up when an artist gains cult-status but is so talented and driven that being head of a clique is only a stepping stone to mass recognition.

Ben Drew won"t have it said that his ever-shifting musical landscape is in anyway bandwagon jumping:

"I was making (soul) music before Mark Ronson made his name, before Amy Winehouse made hers."

But then again the mass success of his second album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks, wasn"t the true face of Ben Drew .. he was playing a character, that of a fictional British soul singer imprisoned for a crime he didn"t commit.



The album followed hot on the heels of his debut, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words; a bleep-heavy, anger-driven, realism-encrusted postcard from an inner-city kid to the big wide world.

Plan B was out of the blocks and the grime community were soon left stunned and in his wake.

But the ways of the music industry were a sudden wake-up call for the artist:

"It was quite a hard experience for me. I put a lot into it and I never felt the record company pushed it as hard as they could.

"I felt there was a lot of people on radio getting in the way of me and my audience."



Drew briefly attended an anger management course:

"I just didn't have time to keep going, but I think I've got my anger under control and have a nice long fuse on my temper."

Then came the mind blowing success of The Defamation of Strickland Banks.

Trouble was, few knew or even cared that Drew was acting out a character.

They were just bloody good songs and he was the face that appeared at the microphone.

He soon came to terms with the fact that:

"I need to start handling things like I'm a star and stop thinking I'm just a normal person.

"But I want to keep the right balance. I don't want to have my head up my arse."



For his latest release, Ill Manors, Drew"s gone back to his roots and back to the early hip-hop influence of his debut.

One thing he hasn"t done is retracted from the public eye, as along with the album came his directorial big budget film debut of the same name.

"I"ve found the best way I can get across what I think is by showing examples, stories. I"m a storyteller, everything else is secondary."

Plan B plays The Brighton Centre on 11th February. For more details visit brightoncentre.co.uk


by: Mike Cobley


Share    


With their new album, Heads Up, Warpaint were looking for a way back to the feelings of excitement they got from their early gigs. A body of work that captured the spirit of the band's live sound: " .. we knew we wanted to play something dancier, faster and fun,"

After instantly selling out their UK tour within a matter of minutes, electro pioneers Kraftwerk have added a date at the Brighton Centre, in June 2017.

Laura Marling's forthcoming album Semper Femina was largely written out on the road, following the release of her acclaimed album, Short Movie. 

Bridget Christie will be headlining a host of female comedians to raise money and awareness for two Sussex women's charities (Rise and Survivors' Network) as part of a global Sixteen Days campaign to end violence against women. 

To commemorate twenty years years since the release of their incredible, number one debut,1977 , Northern Irish rockers Ash are back with a special run of shows at which the album will be played in its entirety and in sequence.

Mercury Prize nominee Ed Harcourt has been lined-up to curate The Flying Seagull Project's benefit concert for child refugees, which will feature the likes of Carl Barât, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Magic Numbers, Tom McRae, Kathryn Williams, Lock, the Dirty Pretty Strings and Simon Munnery,

A nuclear war between the United States and China is not only imaginable but a current ‘contingency’, says the Pentagon. John Pilger's 60th film and first since 2013's Utopia is his most urgent work to date and is both a warning and an inspiring story of resistance.

It's chilly outside, temperatures are dropping, daylight hours are short and for many of us thoughts now turn towards preparing for Christmas festivities, involving family, friends or loved ones.

The Brighton Dome has a long rich history that dates back to the then Prince of Wales (later King George IV)  and to many an evening of pomp and pageantry  The Damned have a long rich history that dates back to the birth of punk. Surely, never the twain shall meet?

Brighton trio The RPMs are joining ska icons The Beat at their Concorde 2 date on 9th December. They are also rounding off the year with single I Think It's Stupid (complete with a video all filmed in Brighton too)… 

Storymaker, playwright and performer, Michael Morpurgo's work reaches across the arts. It's a career that's been recognised with the author receiving the J M Barrie Award for his contribution to children literature.

Jon McDevitt has suffered for your pleasure, you owe him at least a listen in return. From the still smouldering ashes of Brighton Magazine favourite's Geist, comes a solo offering with all the seasonal flavouring and cheer of an artist happy in his own skin.

From rising homelessness to the increasing reliance of residents on food banks, a new show from a recently formed local company Brighton People's Theatre, Tighten Our Belts,takes as its subject the significant cost of austerity for people living and working in the city. 

David Brent is the character created and made world famous by Ricky Gervais as part of his ground breaking, award winning BBC2 comedy The Office.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd