Regarded by some as a one-hit wonder, House of Pain has contributed much to hip-hop.
Consisting of rappers Everlast and Danny Boy and backed by DJ Lethal, House of Pain gained notoriety from their 1992 hit song, “Jump Around.”
The group’s name comes from the H.G. Wells novel “The Island of Dr Moreau.” This book prompted he name for House of Pain’s 2011 tour, “He Who Breaks the Law.”
Signed to Tommy Boy Records in the early ’90s, the group released their debut album, “House of Pain,” in 1992. The album, which featured the song “Jump Around,” went platinum several times. The opening lyrics, “Pack it up, pack it in / Let me begin / I came to win,” set the pace for the hit, showing that, while basic, House of Pain hits hard. “Jump Around” became a party anthem and is featured in a number of movies, including “Rush Hour” and “Happy Gilmore.” The song also has a reputation for being used at sporting events to get people psyched for games.
The group released their second record, “Same as It Ever Was,” in 1994. The album was not as popular as its predecessor, but it did sell enough copies to go gold. Upon listening to one of the album’s singles, “On Point,” it is clear why the album did not sell as well.
Despite DJ Lethal’s use of a fresh beat, the track lacked the enthusiastic feel of “Jump Around.” The song does have an interesting line that’s directed at rapper-turned-actor, Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg. House of Pain showcased themselves as proud Irish-Americans. As a result, the group did not take kindly to Mark Wahlberg’s supposed Irish roots. The line in question, “Calvin Klein’s no friend of mine / So I don’t like Marky,” is a jab at the “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch” star.
Unfortunately, House of Pain split up after the release of their third album, “Truth Crushed to Earth Shall Rise Again,” in 1996. However, the group’s parting did not keep them out of the hip hop scene. Everlast began a successful solo career with the release of his hit song “What It’s Like.” Unlike the old school feel of House of Pain, Everlast incorporated acoustic guitar and a bluesy feel into his solo work. DJ Lethal went on to join a nu-metal band by the name of Limp Bizkit — in its early days the band would often cover “Jump Around” at shows.
In 2006, House of Pain had an unofficial reunion when the group La Coka Nostra was formed. The group was founded by Danny Boy. Everlast and DJ Lethal soon joined, along with fellow rappers Ill Bill and Slaine. La Coka Nostra have released a total of three albums, and Everlast recently announced that he was leaving the group. House of Pain had an official reunion tour in 2011. The tour did not feature DJ Lethal due to clashing schedules with Limp Bizkit.