The title of the album, "Man Plans God Laughs", is a well known English translation of a Yiddish proverb: "Der mentsh trakht un got lakht" as reported in The Forward and reviewed on Pitchfork.
The album is a critique on corporate domination of the recording industry, what Chuck D calls a "corporate plantation". According to Chuck D "CBS, RCA and EMI, today's music-biz corporateplantationopolies are Apple, Google and Facebook. He says "The pigs are walking as tall as the men, but it's impossible to say which is which." and adds "I feel like the government controls the media and the people are not being fed the truth. " He says the album's title 'Man Plans God Laughs' was inspired by legendary basketball player Dr. J (Julius Erving) mentioning the proverb in the documentary about him ‘The Doctor’. Chuck D had narrated the project. He says "When Dr. J said it, he was referring to all his plans for him and his brother, and then his brother passed away. That spoke volumes." Chuck says, "The message I got from that was, 'Stay humble'." He also included the song 'Mine Again' written ten years earlier about African Americans feeling conflicted about their African roots
Man Plans God Laughs received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 70 based on 7 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".