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Last Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006, 08:32 GMT
Sound of 2006: Plan B
By Ian Youngs
BBC News entertainment reporter

Plan B
London rapper Plan B, who has been dubbed the English Eminem, has come fourth in the BBC's Sound of 2006 new music survey.

More than 100 music pundits were canvassed to find the best new acts. We are revealing one artist from the top five every day until Friday, when the winner and full top 10 are announced.


After 22 years gathering source material from the urban underbelly in Forest Gate, east London, Plan B is ready to give the wider world a dose of brutal reality.

Yeah, I'm being very blunt and I'm using bad language but I'm just trying to portray something that's real
Plan B
Signed to The Streets' record label and using an acoustic guitar rather than elaborate beats, Plan B's main weapons are his incisive rhymes that form hard-hitting tales of inner city life.

Drugs, crime, murder, rape, underage sex - no subject is off limits and no punches are pulled.

It is not hard to see why Plan B - real name Ben Drew - has been compared to Eminem - and like his US counterpart, Drew is ready for the acclaim and the uproar.

"I've thought everything through, any questions you can throw at me I've got an answer for," he says.

Plan B
Twenty-two-year-old Plan B has been rapping for three years
"People make films about rape, about murder, and they're just telling a story, right? So I'm just telling a story.

"The only difference is I'm doing it to music. They'll go and watch a film and go 'great film'.

"But you do it over music and they get worked up. They're the ones who've got it twisted, not me, you know what I mean?

"Yeah, I'm being very blunt and I'm using bad language but I'm just trying to portray something that's real that happens in everyday life."

His repertoire is a mixture of semi-fictional stories and more personal lyrics.

Inspired by the murder of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor, he uses Kidz to tell the story of a 14-year-old who kills, rapes and orders people to "hand over your phone, your money and your Pokemon cards".

"You take a little bit of every little bastard you've ever met on a night bus and you put them all in this one character," he says.

Expelled

"It's kids I've met in the street. I've gone to school in London, I've gone to pupil referral units - when I got expelled from school - which are full to the brim of kids like that. There's only kids like that there."

Dead and Buried is from the point of view of three characters whose days are numbered - one with Aids, one junkie and one in jail.

What, just water my music down and just be a boring artist who's not trying to do anything or say anything?
Plan B
Another song is a conversation with a friend who died after being thrown from a tower block balcony.

"The whole song is me talking to him on the phone but you can only hear what I'm saying," Drew says.

He says he is prepared for accusations that he is glorifying violence and crime.

"Why should I worry about that?" he asks. "What, just water my music down and just be a boring artist who's not trying to do anything or say anything?

"I'll take that risk. It's about the art for me. It's about breaking some ground.

"My conscience is clear, man. I have, seriously, no guilt on my conscience about what I'm doing at all."

  • The Sound of 2006 survey was compiled from the tips of more than 100 impartial music critics and broadcasters, who were asked to give the names of their favourite three new artists. The acts with the most tips were then ranked to compile the Sound of 2006 list.


  • BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
    Listen to No Good by Plan B



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