Plan B – Kidz

24th March 2024 · 2000s, 2006, Hip-Hop, Music

Before he became a pop star singing sweet soul pastiches, Plan B was a hardcore rapper tackling social issues like the death of Damilola Taylor.

I was sad to read in my paper this morning news of the death of Richard Taylor, the father of Damilola – the ten-year-old kid stabbed and left to die in Peckham 24 years ago.

Ever since he lost his son, Richard worked ceaselessly to try to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in the hope that this would not happen again. If only.

He set up the Damilola Taylor Trust to campaign against knife crime by changing the culture on the streets and offering hope to underprivileged youngsters.

That knife crime has only got worse by no means diminishes his efforts; his biggest wish was that Damilola would be remembered as an emblem of hope, and for this legacy to be a better life and opportunities for young people.

Damilola died in 2000, slashed with a bottle in the stairwell of a council block on his way home from the library. In 2006, two brothers – aged 11 and 12 at the time of the killing – were convicted of manslaughter after a retrial. They each received eight years in youth custody.

That same year an East London Ben Drew – under his stage name Plan B – made his first appearance on the music scene with this attention-grabbing, spine-tingling rap.

It’s a powerful reaction to the tragedy by a young man familiar with the lifestyle of the perpetrators, cleverly alternating a terrifyingly vivid description of the incident from the killers’ point of view with a sermonising response in the style of a tabloid editorial.

I still find it chilling to hear – if you’re of a sensitive disposition you might prefer not to listen – and depressing to think about how little has changed.

It’s hard not to cry.