I love the new Plan B song "Ill Manors". Some view it as a return to his roots. I guess it kind-of is. He has always been an excellent rapper, with a strong penchant for storytelling and character creation and this song does not disappoint in that regard. I love the opening line "Let's all go on an urban safari". It sets the tone of what is about to come and as a listener we are then dragged into the mentality and frustrations of a disassociated youth, which peaks with the chorus refrain "My manor's ill". There is so much of line that is relevant to today's society. Why is gang violence often decided over postcode location? In this simple chorus I envision a proud youth of an inner-city location being proud (for unknown reasons) to represent an area closely associated with violence, for no particular reason.
Obviously the beat is on point. The strings cascading through the song like a dramatic wave that is bought under control by Plan B's flow and storytelling. The quintessential story of this track to me is it is an artist who has a vision and isn't compromising, despite any pressures either he or the record label felt to match the sales of Strickland Banks. But if you really study it this is an album that still has commercial appeal as no doubt the Kidulthood/Adulthood generation may be drawn to the movie, spurred on by the extreme violence that apparently accompanies it.
I contrast that with Stooshe, who turned "Fuck Me" into "Love Me" and feature one of the worst features in all of music; the phoned in guest-rap by an American star (see Another Level and Jay-Z at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofQkBj5ZsP8 ). You know Travie McCoy has no idea who these girls are. You know they are probably a bit reluctant too. But the thing I hate is when a group pretends to be bolshie and original, when for all I can see they are just TLC, with more annoying ad-libs. They even got a wanna-be T-Boz, with a girl with a deep voice!
Everything has been done, but don't claim to be an original girl-group who are uncompromising when I have seen you before. They are kind-of interesting, but there is so much annoying stuff about them. 2 albums, then they will fade away is my prediction. I remember the last girl group I became aware of called Ultragirls. They came to my school and while they were good singers, very professional and amazingly beautiful there was nothing new about them. They were even promoting girl-power, which I swear has been done before! Of course there is something beautifully alluring about feminine independence, but what chance did the now disbanded Ultragirls have when their debut video/song was this;
Girls will be girls, but why do they so often follow the same formula? And where is the new Missy Elliott? Or even better, where is Missy Elliott