With album sales dropping as we all choose our own playlist to make up the soundtrack of our day, the Mercury prize announced its nominations for Best UK Album 2012. Among the contenders is Plan B’s soundtrack to his film directing debut – Ill Manors.
Here’s what you need to know about this man.
1. His full name is Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew.
2. As an actor, he came to fame in 2008’s Adulthood.
3. He’s soon to appear alongside Britain’s favourite cinematic hard man, Ray Winstone (The Departed, Nil by Mouth and Quadrophenia) in The Sweeney, a new take on the classic 1970s British TV cop drama.
4. He created an alter ego of Strickland Banks for his 2010 album The Defamation of Strickland Banks.
5. The film Ill Manors is both written and directed by him, released in June 2012.
6. As an actor, he has worked alongside archetypal London actors Michael Caine and Adam Deacon.
7. After teaching himself to play guitar, he went on to write rap and hip hop music, seeming to find that suited his style and voice best.
8. His song Kidz was inspired by the high profile and shocking murder of Damilola Taylor.
9. He covered Cheryl Cole’s ‘Call my Name’ in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge.
10. He’s collaborated with some of the biggest names in UK music, including Professor Green, Killa Kela, Skrein, Shameless, Elton John and the Mitchell Brothers.