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





A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.


The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.


Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.


Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.


Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.


'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.