With the recent welcoming of experimentation, Western Maryland-bred group Plan: Be should be in good shape. Press information for the group says they "disrespect expectations and have produced an album that shows little interest in the typical."
Their bio certainly didn't lie. Plan: Be's debut full-length, Antiform, is precisely what its name implies. While the group has an old-school approach—all MCs and producers in-house, void of cameo appearances—the music is anything but, a perplexing mix of rhymes and seemingly everything that can create sound.
Occasionally, the group actually makes good music. Producer Uni Vs's scratching and harmonicas inspire the group to do some old-fashioned ass kicking on "Smack Em," and "Female Fat" speaks on the industry's misogyny. The MC's show exceptional rhyming skills over thumping bass and balancing hand claps on "Tribal Jam," and do the same to stellar strings by producer Rhymix on "The Symphony of Independent Thought."
More often than not though, Plan: Be gets ahead of themselves. In their quest to make their own sound, they end up making material that's more confusing than innovative. They virtually ruin a quality classical sample by (literally) mumbling for nearly a full minute on "BachBiz (Tchaikovsky)," and lighthearted attempts like "Things Are Lookin Right" and "I Suck" are more corny than humorous. Also, with excessively long track lengths (one of them actually over 10 minutes), the album becomes difficult to listen to all the way through. At times, Plan: Be seems like the artist who dumped a bucket of paint on his canvas to catch attention.
Antiform album is basically a hit or miss effort, seeming like an album only made for the enjoyment of its creators rather than a commercial release. While its disorganized sound may drive away certain listeners, others may listen to the album to find some decent music. Plan: Be has succeeded in creating their own sound, but getting outsiders to embrace it may be more difficult.
Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10
Originally posted: July 13, 2004