Working from home this afternoon I have been listening to Scott Mills on Radio One. He played the new Chris Brown track “Don’t Wake Me Up” and I was far from bothered with the autotunetastic song made by the violent rapper.
What instead caught my ear was this song by Plan B.
It’s not too different to this classic Peter Fox song – the soundtrack to my year in Berlin. (Does anyone know where the string sample that they both have used comes from?)
Either way, Plan B’s video got me onto this BBC One Extra interview with the man himself.
Ben Drew, a.k.a. Plan B, says he wrote “ill Manors” for middleclass England and equals using the word “chav” with using derogatory terms against people because of their sex or race. He says middle England needs to stop ridiculing those less fortunate and educated and that they are alienating a large portion of society.
He says, although they made him sick, the riots were a case of these people unfortunately playing up to what was expected to them, fuelling the fire because they felt no one would ever believe anything else of them.
“We are all animals and when pushed into a corner we lash out,” he says.
Despite my recent rants about men in hoodies threatening to mug me and my friends (I would never call anyone chav just like I would never want to be called homo, muff diver or anything like it), I understand what Ben is saying. And I do believe that he, someone who quite clearly has more knowledge on the subject matter, is right. People will play up to your expectations of them, especially if they are negative. If you are constantly looked down upon then of course you’re going to bite back.
What the solution to the problem is, however, I don’t know and neither does Ben.
He asks for a follow-up to the riots, a debate and a solution. The whole thing was brushed under the carpet as soon as Gaddafi was killed, he says. Again, I agree.
The very fact that I reported on these muggings a few weeks back means that the problem, clearly, isn’t gone and dealt with. Kids think they can steal my phone and adults shake their heads at a lost generation – is that it? Where’s this bigger picture, the bigger society here?
Ben talks about attacks against less unfortunate people, attacks based on their way of dressing or their music taste. Middle England needs to wake up, he says and adds that those who bought his soul record shouldn’t be afraid to listen to his new hiphop album.
“As an artist I need to get under people’s skin,” he says, explaining why he didn’t just stick his words onto a soul track again.
“[When] we change the issue, then I can start making pop music.”
After listening to the interview I have a newfound respect for Plan B, a true artist who isn’t in it for the money but who actually wants to uncover something.
“I cant just read a newspaper and turn to page 3 and look at a girl’s breasts… I need to know why it happened.”
For that reason I will be sure to pick up the album “iLL Manors”, released this week. The film with the same name came out last Friday.
“If after listening to this song you still don’t get it, maybe you’re not as educated as you think,“ Plan B concludes.
In other political news, Barack Obama’s acknowledgement of gay marriage made for smiles all round – now let’s see how the world reacts. And how the Americans vote.
Against Me!’s Tom Gabel came out as transgender in an interview with The Rolling Stone earlier this week. A very brave move in an industry peppered with gay fear (*cough* I could namedrop so many *cough*) . Laura Jane Grace now tops my list of dream interviewees.
Respect all round.