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Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew born 22 October 1986 also known as Plan B or Ben Drew is an Englishmarker rapper, singer, acoustic guitarist and actor from Forest Gatemarker, East Londonmarker.

Early life

Plan B was raised in Forest Gatemarker, East Londonmarker. From the age of 11 Plan B attended Anglo European Schoolmarker in Ingatestonemarker, Essex, before transferring to Tom Hood Schoolmarker in Leytonstonemarker, London.

Career

Who Needs Actions When You Got Words

He is signed to sixsevenine, home to fellow UK rapper The Streets. The Prodigy's "No Good (Start The Dance)", and the second A-side, "Sick 2 Def", was an acoustic track. The music video, for "No Good", was his first music video and employed the techniques of stop-motion animation. An acoustic version of the single "Kidz" appeared as a bonus track on the soundtrack to the UK box office film Kidulthood.

In April 2006, he released a video only download single, Missing Links. The song had to be re-recorded because the original version sampled Pyramid Song by Radiohead and two days before the NME Awards, he still had not gained permission to use the instrumental and thus had to write a new backing track in two days. The new version goes in the opposite direction of the previous electric sound, now using simply an acoustic guitar, a cello and drums and Epic Man's debut single, "More is Enough", featured Plan B and was featured on the soundtrack for Need For Speed: Pro Street

His debut album Who Needs Actions When You Got Words was released on 26 June 2006. The title was taken from the lyrics to a Meat Puppets song, covered by Nirvana for their MTV Unplugged in New York album. Drew cites Kurt Cobain as one of his heroes and also states that the phrase should help make people realise that his songs are meant to be taken as words and not meant to incite action.

Plan B appeared on Later with Jools Holland on June 23 2006, where he performed his first full single release "Mama ", which was released on 10 July 2006, peaking at #41 in the UK singles chart.

The instrumental version to "Mama (Loves A Crackhead)" is used on promotional clips on BBC Radio 1 to advertise the BBC's coverage of live cricket.

On the 5th of October 2008, Plan B's collaboration with Chase & Status, Pieces reached #70 in the UK charts.

The Next Album

Although details are sketchy, Plan B highlighted the matter in the 14th October 2006 issue of NME. From the interview, Plan B Said "I've started this project about a drug addict called David Frost - no relation to the guy on TV - and basically it's the story of this guy and the levels of addiction, rehab, rehab not working, robbing...The trials and tribulations of a fucking smackhead. It's a big story. I might release a first edition, then a second edition...". Meanwhile, Plan B releases new material through his myspace profile, such as remixes and acoustic versions of previous tracks that won't be on the new album, just exclusive for myspace or the Paint It Blacker mixtape. Plan B has also appeared on the track "No Hats, No Trainers" from the Smokers Die Younger album by Shameless and "Guns Don't kill people, but letter openers certainly do" by "The KFC mutant chickens". He later decided to scrap the David Frost idea and write a short film and accompanying album, titled The Defamation of Strickland Banks (http://www.stricklandbanks.com/)

Film career

Plan B has also expressed an interest in working in film. In an interview about Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, he said: "We’re still promoting this album and I’ve started work on the next one, but I’m really getting into film at the moment. I’m writing this script, and I really want to find some time to focus on it, I really feel that’s what I’m destined to be doing”. Plan B also acts as part of an ensemble cast, playing Dabs in Adulthood, the sequel to Kidulthood, which featured his song "Kidz". The film was released in June 2008 to mixed reviews but favourable box office performance. As well as the role, Drew contributed to the soundtrack with "End In The Streets", "I Need Love" which featured Jacob Anderson who was also in the film, and the track "On It 08" that was made by multiple artists. Plan B also plays the role of Noel in the recently released Harry Brown, starring alongside Michael Caine. The film also features his collaboration, "End Credits" with drum and bass producers Chase & Status.

Musical style

His unique sound is characterised by his use of acoustic guitar and lyrics involving drugs, rape, murder and underage sex. He was placed fourth in the BBC's "Sound of 2006" competition.

Plan B's controversial lyrical content delivered against guitar strumming has seen him dubbed "The British Eminem", or "Eminem meets Damien Rice". Though content wise, Plan states that with most of his songs he is "just telling a story" and that he is "just trying to portray something that's real that happens in everyday life". These stories are largely semi-fictional but include personal content as well. One song of which "Kids" was partially inspired by the murder of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor, in which Plan B tells the story of a 14-year-old who kills, rapes and mugs his victims. Some lyrics in the song allude to this, such as "hand over your money, your phone and your Pokémon cards". Drew points out, in a possibly subtle jibe at American rappers, that his life growing up is not interesting enough to write songs about, so he takes on characters in his songs to make interesting and, hopefully, thought-provoking music.

Discography

Studio albums

Year Album Chart Positions
UK
2006 Who Needs Actions When You Got Words
  • Released: 26 June 2006
  • Label: 679 Recordings
  • Format(s): CD, LP
30


Compilations and Mixtapes

  • It's Time 4 Plan B (2006)
  • Paint It Blacker (2007)


EPs

  • Live At The Pet Cemetery EP (2006)
  • Remixes (2006)
  • Time 4 Plan B (2007)


Singles

Year Title Chart Positions Album
UK
2005 "Kidz" / "Dead And Buried" Who Needs Actions When You Got Words
"No Good" / "Sick 2 Def"
2006 "Mama " 41
2007 "No Good"
2009 "Stay Too Long" TBA The Defamation of Strickland Banks


As featured artist
Year Title Chart Positions Album
UK
2008 "Pieces" (with Chase & Status) 70 More Than Alot
2009 "Shifty" (with Riz MC and Sway) Shifty OST
"End Credits" (with Chase & Status) 9 Harry Brown OST


Music Videos
  • "No Good"
  • "Missin' Links"
  • "Mama (Loves A Crackhead)"
  • "No More Eatin'"
  • "Bizness Woman"
  • "Before I Die" (Remix) (with Professor Green, Example, Ghetto and Big Narstie)
  • "Pieces" (with Chase & Status)
  • "Shifty" (with Riz MC and Sway)
  • "End Credits" (with Chase & Status)


Other tracks and Collaborations

  • 2002: Plan B - "Preach"
  • 2004: Wonder & Plan B - "Cap Back" (Run The Road)
  • 2005: Plan B - "No New Styles" (FabricLive.20)
  • 2005: Skrein, Shameless, Plan B and Sem - "Maybe" (Bless The Mixtape)
  • 2005: Shameless, TB, Plan B and Dat - "My Eyes" (Bless The Mixtape)
  • 2005: MC Purple, Doctor, Plan B - "Broken Wings" (Eye of the Tiger Volume 1)
  • 2005: Carly Bond, Ripper, Hitman Tigger, Doctor, Plan B, Riddles, Doom-Man, Faction G, TKO Punisha - "Polarised Nation" (Eye of the Tiger Volume 1)
  • 2006: Plan B & Shameless - "Past That" (Above Board)
  • 2006: Professor Green feat. Example, Ghetto, Big Narstie, & Plan B - "Before I Die (Remix)"
  • 2006: Epic Man feat. Plan B - "More Is Enough"
  • 2007: Shameless feat. Example & Plan B - "Everyday (Rusher Remix)"
  • 2007: Shameless feat. Plan B - "No Hats No Trainers" (Smokers Die Young)
  • 2007: Plan B & Skrein - "Tik Tok" (The Southcoast Soulshine EP)
  • 2007: Plan B, Shameless & Skrein - "Makin' Love 2 Hip Hop" (Sharpest Tool In The Box)
  • 2007: The Mitchell Brothers feat. Plan B - "Shots Echo" (Dressed for the Occasion)
  • 2008: Plan B - "End In The Streets" (Adulthood OST)
  • 2008: Adam Deacon, Plan B, Snakeyman, Blazay, Alphadecious - "On It 08" (Adulthood OST)
  • 2008: Plan B & Jacob Anderson - "I Need Love" (Adulthood OST)
  • 2008: Chase & Status feat. Plan B - "Pieces" (More Than Alot)
  • 2009: Skreintax feat. Plan B - "Last Dayz"
  • 2009: Riz MC, Sway & Plan B - "Shifty" (Shifty OST)
  • 2009: Chase & Status feat. Plan B - "End Credits" (Harry Brown OST)


Filmography

|-
Year Film Role Notes
2005 Walking After Acconci Lead Short film (directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard)
2008 Adulthood Dabs Film
2008 Michelle Unknown Short film/music video (directed by Ben Drew)
2008 Pieces Unknown Short film/music video (directed by Ben Drew)
2009 Harry Brown Noel Film
2010 The Defamation of Strickland Banks Strickland Banks Short film (directed by Ben Drew)
2010 4.3.2.1 Terry Film


References

External links




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