Plan B (Ben Drew) has released Ill Manors, a rap that many commentators are heralding as one of the greatest protest songs for years. The song deals with the riots in England last August, and with the underlying problems of social alienation, exclusion, and the hopelessness and anger felt by many young people in the sick manors (inner city areas and housing schemes). Plan B explains his thinking behind the song (and soon to be film of the same name) in an interview with BBC1Xtra. One of his comments seems particularly insightful:
I’m not trying to condone what happened during the riots. It disgusted me. It made me sick. It saddened me more than anything because those kids that was rioting and looting they’ve just made life 10 times harder for themselves. They’ve just played into the hands of what certain sectors of Middle England think about them.
The lyrics are a clever and effective mix of angry and violent rants, such as:
Truth is here, we’re all disturbed / We cheat and lie its so absurd / Feed the fear that’s what we’ve learned / Fuel the fire / Let it burn”, together with critiques of specific issues; the sarcasm of We got an eco friendly government / They preserve our natural habitat / Built an entire Olympic village / Around where we live without pulling down any flats
seems especially apt and timely, whilst other parts of the rap raises questions about government cut programmes being a significant part of the problem:
Who closed down the community centre? / I kill time there used to be a member / What will I do now until September? / Schools out, rules out / get your bloody tools out / London’s burning, I predict a riot / Fall in fall out / who knows what it’s all about / What did that chief say?