House Of Pain iTunes Tracks

House Of Pain

Known primarily as the Irish-American rap trio that shot to fame through the loutish `Jump Around’ smash hit, HOUSE OF PAIN fell foul of the parental guidance squad railing against hardcore hip hop posses in the halcyon days at the turn of the 90s. Of course, there was much more besides several HOP singles and a trio of albums, though it was nigh on impossible for them to create a vacuum between PUBLIC ENEMY and best buddies CYPRESS HILL.
Formed in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, in 1990, Brooklyn-born main man EVERLAST (aka Erik Schrody) had already boxed clever on his ICE-T-endorsed Warner Brothers album, “Forever Everlasting” (1990). But now together with high school chum and fellow wordsmith Danny Boy O’Connor and Latvian-born sampler DJ Lethal (aka Leor DiMant) at the decks/keyboards, the three crossed the cultural barriers of a predominantly ethnic/black rap genre; the BEASTIE BOYS had been the exception and a young EMINEM was suitably impressed.
Signing to Tommy Boy Records, HOUSE OF PAIN suffered little when the aforesaid `Jump Around’ gate-crashed the Top 3 (UK Top 40); a hip hop juggernaut of a single that employed thugish vocal rhyming, a big ‘n’ bouncy bassline and screeching PUBLIC ENEMY-style noise to create one of the year’s most memorable tunes; although it must be noted that it was JERMAINE DUPRI’s kiddie-rap protégées KRIS KROSS that had given “Jump” its initial kickstart. Who was zoomin’ who, indeed?
Co-produced by DJ Lethal and CYPRESS HILL’s DJ Muggs, the self-titled HOUSE OF PAIN (1992) {*8} debut album made its move within the Top 20 the following month. Embraced by Irish ex-pats as well as the majority of the street-smart rap fraternity of L.A. (and beyond), it was indeed a surprise when the hard-rock “Boom Shalock Lock Boom” chants of `Shamrock And Shenanigans’ initially only registered a minor UK place. Once one got past the gimmicky fine malt liquor façade, there really wasn’t much substance to this lot apart from clichéd macho lyrics and jazzy gangsta posturing; degrading women a specialty. Then again, their wild-style comic antics and filmic spoken-word interludes could well’ve spirited fledgling rap collective WU-TANG CLAN.
Controversy was never far from the front door of HOUSE OF PAIN; Danny Boy’s preoccupation with his Irish ancestry made him mark his skin with a “Sinn Fein” tattoo, although he consequently admitted to being more influenced by actor Mickey Rourke than the Irish political party. And while their debut set’s success petered out in America, `Jump Around’ was Top 10 in the UK the following spring; twinned as it was with album track, `Top O’ The Morning To Ya’. This coincided with Everlast being arrested at New York’s JFK airport and charged with illegal possession of a firearm; the rapper eventually being sentenced to four months house arrest the following year. In the meantime, a second double-A side; this time consisting of `Shamrocks…’ and `Who’s The Man’, coincided with the trio’s “Judgment Night” collaboration (`Just Another Victim’) with heavies HELMET.
Further controversy continued to dog the group when, in a particularly nasty incident, a HOP road crew member was involved in a fight with security crew at a gig in Manchester, England. Such publicity probably did the trio’s hard-man image and public profile no harm as 1994’s sophomore set, SAME AS IT EVER WAS {*8}, hovered around the Top 10 listings in both Britain and America. For some pundits a creative improvement on their debut, the record was more impassioned with Everlast railing against his perceived role as media fall guy. With its brash hip hop/jazz interjections by way of `Back From The Dead’, UK hits `On Point’ and `It Ain’t A Crime’, there was even room at the back for the aforesaid `Who’s The Man’.
On the back of two moderate UK volleys, `Over There (I Don’t Care)’ – a non-LP piece – and `Fed Up’, a derivative third Top 50 set, TRUTH CRUSHED TO EARTH SHALL RISE AGAIN (1996) {*6}, did little to resurrect the HOP of old and it was inevitable that the trio would split. A little later, Caffrey’s Ale was screeching out “Jump Around” (interpolating an Irish classical theme) for a TV ad/commercial. Whilst the in-demand DJ Lethal joined metallers LIMP BIZKIT, the dexterous EVERLAST returned to a constructive solo career for Top 10 acquisition “Whitey Ford Sings The Blues” (1998); “Eat At Whitey’s” followed in 2000.
The closest thing HOUSE OF PAIN got to re-forming was when all three members put aside their other activities to perform with LA COKA NOSTRA (alongside rappers Slaine and Ill Bill) on the collective’s inaugural set, “A Brand You Can Trust” (2009); EVERLAST bailed thereafter.
© MC Strong 1996-2006/GRD // rev-up MCS Nov2019

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