The Ballad of Belmarsh

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The Ballad of Belmarsh
Studio album by Plan B
Recorded 2008–present
Genre Soul, R&B, alternative hip hop
Label Pet Cemetery Records
Producer Ben Drew, David McEwan, Paul Epworth, Eric Appapoulay, SMV (add.)
Plan B chronology
Ill Manors
The Ballad of Belmarsh

The Ballad of Belmarsh is the upcoming, fourth studio album, due to be released by British singer, songwriter and rapper Plan B, via Drew's own record label, Pet Cemetery Records.


The Ballad of Belmarsh was originally set to be released as a double album with The Defamation of Strickland Banks; however, this idea was scrapped, after Drew's record label, 679 Artists, refused to release it.[1] Drew then announced plans to release the album as a stand-alone project on his own label, Pet Cemetery Records, with the album slated to be released as his third studio record, due to be available in 2011, less than a year after the release of Strickland Banks.[2] Plans were once again delayed, however, after Drew secured funding to produce his first feature-length film, Ill Manors, which was set for release in June 2012. As Drew planned to record the soundtrack album to the film, plans to release The Ballad of Belmarsh were once again delayed. However, in August 2012, Drew re-iterated his intention to finish The Ballad of Belmarsh, and claimed that its music videos should give "enough coverage" to complete the film version of the Strickland Banks saga, which is now set for release in cinemas in 2013, following its postponement, until The Ballad of Belmarsh was complete.[3] Drew explained in an interview with Digital Spy that "The Ballad of Belmarsh is supposed to be the hip-hop installment of the Strickland Banks saga. I tried to get it out before Ill Manors came out, but it was just impossible".[3]


In an interview with NME, Drew claimed that the album is influenced by Skinnyman and Klashnekoff.[4] In an interview with Digital Spy, Drew explained the concept of the album: "My first record was the kind of record that, when your parents went past, they'd go, 'Turn that off, give it to me, it's going in the bin! But with the second, the same parents were like, 'What a talented guy'. With the third album, those parents are going to go straight back to, 'Turn that s**t off'. It's an underground hip-hop album about Strickland Banks being banged up in Belmarsh. I won't be him singing anymore, I'll be rapping about him, commenting on the story."[5]

Speaking live on BBC Three on 26 June 2011, after his Glastonbury performance, Drew said of the album: "It goes into greater detail. That's the great thing about hip-hop, it allows you to do that. And I'd say, I wrote this album the way I write hip-hop, which is trying to convey the story I need to get out, rather than trying to make songs that radio will play. So I always talk about this album like it's an underground album, and I'm not sure how much commercial legs it has. But it's more of what I call a film for the blind, so when you put it on, it'll be like listening to the audio of a film without having the images." In the same interview, Plan B also confirmed, "I just recorded Ray Winstone in the studio. I wrote a kind of John Cooper Clarke-esque spoken word rap. At the moment, it's called 'Officer Men', it's a working title and I got Ray to come in and spit it. It sounds amazing. It's like the modern take on "Parklife" but with, like, balls. I'm really really excited. It's weird because I was in the studio with him and I was like, 'This is the proudest moment of my musical life.' And I've had some great moments... I never thought he'd say yes, and he did."[6]

Snippets from the album have been included in the music video for "The Recluse", and The Defamation of Strickland Banks film trailer.[7] Drew said that following the release of the album, he will take a break from the industry. "After this, I need time out. I need to evaluate what it really is I want to do next, but this album will see the light of day before i go."[3]

Recorded tracks[edit]

  • "The Ballad of Belmarsh" (heard in "The Recluse" music video)
  • "The Defamation of Strickland Banks" (heard in The Defamation of Strickland Banks trailer)
  • "Officer Men" (featuring Ray Winstone)


  1. ^ "Plan B: 'Label rejected new album'". BBC Newsbeat. 8 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "Plan B interview". The Daily Telegraph. 7 April 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "Plan B hasn't finished 'iLL Manors' soundtrack – video – Music News". Digital Spy. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  4. ^ "Plan B's new rap album inspired by Skinnyman and Klashnekoff | News". IPC Media. 12 January 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Plan B: 'Parents will hate new album The Ballad of Belmarsh' – Music News". Digital Spy. 5 July 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  6. ^ "BBC Glastonbury Festival – 2011 – Plan B". 26 June 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  7. ^ "The Defamation of Strickland Banks". YouTube. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012.