De La Soul - "Pain" feat. Snoop Dogg (Singles Going Steady)

In an era where trap music, concert shootings, and lame rap beefs define hip-hop, De La Soul rekindle the musical flame that made rap such a popular genre to begin with.

Emmanuel Elone: There are a lot of reasons to dislike this song. The laid-back groove may border on boring and dull for some, and the lyrics are not as memorable and catchy as one may like them to be. That being said, "Pain" is one of the best hip-hop songs that I've heard so far this year by a long shot. The funky synths and female backing vocals ("Pain will make it better") not only work in tandem to create a smooth, clear instrumental that harkens back to last year's To Pimp a Butterfly, but the backing vocals also sing the hook with so much personality and energy. Now, on a lyrical front, De La Soul were never the greatest (yet they are still far from bad), but the flow is there, riding the tracks that the beat laid down with such ease. Snoop Dogg's feature is just as amazing -- if not more so than De La Soul's -- and brings the entire track home with one of the California rapper's best guest verses in years. In an era where trap music, concert shootings (Troy Ave), and lame rap beefs define hip-hop, De La Soul rekindle the musical flame that made rap such a popular genre to begin with, and I can only hope that "Pain" helps turn those tiny flames into blazing wildfires as time goes on. [9/10]

Pryor Stroud: Taken from De La Soul's upcoming ninth album And the Anonymous Nobody, "Pain" is a straightforward -- and straightforwardly effective -- modern G-funk jam that deploys a tightly-wound guitar jitter and boom-bap drum loop to make its point. The hook is a mellifluous meditation on suffering's inevitability, and the production is clean, immaculately arranged, and hued with just enough of a retro hip-hop vibe to inspire a bit of nostalgia. However, as per usual, Snoop Dogg's guest verse not only adds another element of old-school charm to the track, it steals the whole show. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: De La Soul's appearance on the hip-hop scene in the late '80s signified a sea change in the genre; rappers were beginning to look back to early soul and R&B for the foundation of their sound, and these guys were leading the charge. Decades later, they're still at it. "Pain" is built around a classic R&B sound with a female backing vocal cadre that sounds like it was airlifted in from a 1976 Marvin Gaye chestnut. Snoop Dogg is along for the ride, giving the song even more of a throwback feel. [7/10]

Chad Miller: The background beat is nice. The melody, while decent, doesn't seem to fit on top of it though nor did Snoop Dogg's line. His flow sounds kind of awkward as a result. The first verse did a decent job with it though, but it wasn't enough to save the track from mediocrity. [5/10]

SCORE: 7.00

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.