“Dapper” is not the first – or thousandth – word I would have used to describe UK artist Plan B when I first saw him in 2007. At the time, the hoodied, sneaker-wearing grime rapper was touring off his debut album Who Needs Actions When You Got Words. The album wasn’t a bellwether for the movement – the rapper was clearly wiser and more musically inclined than some of his Playstation-producing peers – but its harsh, dissonant sounds and aggressive flow did incorporate it into the genre.
So now here we Tuesday night at Bowery Ballroom, three years and one massive stylistic change later. The only sneakers and hoodies found are in the audience, while Plan B (né Ben Drew) and his live group – with maturation comes a shedding of his past DJ setup – sartorially one-up the crowd with crisp black suits straight out of the Daptone closet.