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Plan B 

Who Needs Actions When You Got Words (Cordless Recordings)

Wednesday, May 2 2007
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We knew that buying into the Streets — and his pub-chatter grime storytelling — was musically irresponsible. We guessed we'd be egging on a whole generation of angry white limeys to "educate us" about "what the young blokes are up to" in not-so-jolly old England. So now we'll just have to grin and bear it as Plan B, a decidedly less witty, less convincing chronicler of British inner-city desperation tugs at our ears.

Plan B is the second attempt at a music career from one Ben Drew. He's an East London rapper, producer, and guitarist who thought better of his initial upbeat R&B songs after the U.K.'s urban music took a Clockwork-ian turn. Drew's talent for crafting prickly, driving pop songs is undeniable, so it's no wonder that he's been hailed by British critics. But under his precise flow and pleasant guitar hooks lie messages barely worthy of the urgency. On Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, his debut album, Drew documents his penis in great detail, down to its color, unusual size, and aversion to latex. He tells of the underage girl he wooed. He explains that he loves his mom and warns against teen pregnancy. And snatching a scene from the Eminem show, Drew methodically pillories an absent parent, recasting the degenerate mom with a religious zealot father. Like that bloke at the bar, Plan B has plenty of tales to tell, but few are worth the pint they'll cost you. — Darren Keast

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Darren Keast

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