This one will never get old. “Pain” is one of most underrated 2Pac songs of all-time and is a bit rare one since it was only featured on the cassette version of the Above the Rim (1994) soundtrack. It is currently not listed on digital streaming platforms… making it a perfect entry for our new Throwback Thursday series, Hidden Gems.
“Pain” was produced by and features Pac’s friend-turned-enemy Stretch of the three-man rap group and production team, Live Squad. He was once a member of Pac’s group, Thug Life, and the pair appeared on various songs together including two on Pac’s debut album, 2Pacalypse Now (“Crooked Ass N***a” and “Tha’ Lunatic“). They had also performed together several times including at the ’94 Source Awards, and The Arsenio Hall Show where they performed a version of “Pain.”
Tupac and Stretch had a falling out as a result of the Quad Recording Studios shooting in Manhattan on Nov. 30, 1994 which left Pac robbed and hospitalized. It was the same incident which ruined 2Pac’s relationship with Biggie, and ultimately left Pac on bad terms with most of the people that were connected to that fateful day. A day later, 2Pac would be sent to prison after being convicted of sexual assault.
As Tupac explained to The Source in 1996: “Stretch was my closest dog, my closest homie. I did a lot of drama, I got into a lot of cases and shit because of Stretch. Money-wise, he could’ve had anything. His daughter was my daughter; whatever she wanted she could have. Then this shit happened and the nigga didn’t ride for me. He didn’t do what your dog is supposed to do when you shot up. When I was in jail, nigga never wrote me, never got at me. His homeboys was coming to see me and he wasn’t coming to see me. And he started hanging around Biggie right after this. I’m in jail, shot up, his main dog, and he hanging out going to shows with Biggie. Both these niggas never came to see me.”
2Pac had also discussed his relationship with Stretch in a highly-publicized interview with VIBE Magazine in April 1995, and Stretch would respond to those comments shortly after in a VIBE interview of his own.
“Pac’s saying all this shit in the interview, like, ‘I thought that Stretch was gonna fight. He was towering over them.’ Now, that nigga know I ain’t never going out like no bitch. But I ain’t dumb. I ain’t got no gun, what the fuck am I supposed to do? I might be towering over niggas, but I ain’t towering over no slugs.”
In the same interview, Stretch would be one of the first to insinuate that Pac had shot himself during the Quad Recording Studios incident. “Me personally, I only heard one shot. … Tupac got shot trying to go for his shit. He tried to go for his gun, and he made a mistake on his own. But I’ll let him tell the world that. … He tried to turn around and pull the joint out real quick, but niggas caught him. Grabbed his hand when it was by his waist.”
In a strange twist of fate (and what was ultimately deemed a coincidence), Stretch was killed in a shooting on Nov. 30, 1995. It was one year almost to the minute from the Quad Recording Studios shooting, and just over a month after Suge Knight posted 2Pac’s bond. Even the NY Times had pointed out the eerie similarity when they reported on Stretch’s murder:
“They said they were looking into a possible connection between the two attacks, but they had no hard evidence to suggest whether the incidents were related or whether the links were simply the result of a bizarre coincidence.”
“The shootings were one year and about five minutes apart,” said Lieutenant Vito Spano, commander of the detective squad in the 105th Precinct at the time. “It’s weird.” There are various videos on YouTube discussing the connection between the two shootings, and several people that were connected to either Pac or Stretch speaking on it. Even Ed Lover, who had been Stretch’s friend and a Live Squad executive producer, discussed the rumour on VladTV back in 2020.
Just prior to the shooting, Stretch had finished up a studio session with Nas, dropped off his brother Majesty, and was on his way to a Biggie event when he was ambushed in his car. The 6 ft. 8 Queens, NY-native was just 27 at the time of his death. A few years ago, Majesty, a rapper in his own right, spoke extensively on his brother’s relationship with Pac, as well as his brother’s death.
A remix of “Pain” was released in 2007 featuring Styles P and Butch Cassidy. The song was included on the posthumous remix album, Nu-Mixx Klazzics Vol. 2 – Evolution: Duets & Remixes.