The Defamation of Strickland Banks
by Plan B
Released: Apr 2010
Label: Atlantic Records
Ben "Plan B" Drew pulls a 90-degree turn from his days as a grimy rapper that was "Sick 2 Def." On his U.K. hit The Defamation of Strickland Banks, he reinvents himself, singing with a creamy high falsetto over '60s-styled soul for this concept piece about a man falsely accused of rape. And when he raps about being thrown in prison and awaiting trial on "Welcome to Hell" and "The Recluse," it's clear he's using this concept to talk about greater societal problems as well as his own plight. It's rare to hear a retro-soul album ambitious enough to seek not only love, but also salvation from these "Hard Times," and Strickland Banks addresses the modern condition brilliantly.