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Meaning of ‘Pain’ by ‘De La Soul’ feat. Snoop Dogg

Released: 2016 • Features: Snoop Dogg

“Pain” by De La Soul featuring Snoop Dogg is a vivid contemplation on the trials and tribulations of life and how suffering can often catalyze growth, resilience, and a stronger sense of self. Crafting storytelling with nuanced slang phrases and layered cultural references, this song dives deep into the gritty realities of life while grounding its narrative in a hopeful and reflective undertone.

The track kicks off with a hook that emphasizes the transformative power of pain – how it compels one to acknowledge their feelings, face their past, and ultimately grow stronger. Here, the phrase “Pain will make it better” is a potent mantra asserting that pain can lead to progress and personal evolution.

In the first verse, De La Soul uses the phrase “Let me see how many palms go up high” as a call out to those who’ve faced adversity, reminding them they’re not alone. The reference to “Big mama said, ‘The Devil’s up to no good'” is a nod to the wisdom passed down through generations, highlighting the importance of righteousness against life’s inevitable hardships. “No gain without tears and sweat” underscores this sentiment, speaking to the reality that progress often comes at a cost.

Snoop Dogg’s verse takes on a reflective tone, bringing forth elements from his own life as a testament to the transformative power of pain. “Used to gang-bang, used to love the clashes/ Now cash is the only motivation/ But not for me, G, I’m into public relations” illuminates Snoop’s transition from a life of crime to a career in music and community advocacy. The phrase “That’s food for your De La Soul, word to the letter” is a clever play on words, referencing both De La Soul and the nourishment of the soul through wisdom and experience.

The final verse further elaborates on the hardships faced, like economic struggles and systemic discrimination (“We came from the back of the bus, talking Watts to Mobile”). Yet, it’s balanced with an affirmation of strength and resilience: “But we’re gon’ use that pain for fuel”.

Throughout “Pain”, De La Soul and Snoop Dogg invite listeners on a profound journey of introspection and encourage them to harness pain as a catalyst for change and growth. So, while the song traverses heavy themes, it remains a powerful testament to human endurance and hope.

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