Infinity tha Ghetto Child

Pain

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No one will mistake Infinity tha Ghetto Child for Too $hort, DJ Quik, or Snoop Dogg. While those West Coast rappers have combined explicit lyrics with a laid-back, easygoing type of flow, Infinity is anything but laid-back when he raps. The Charleston, SC, native barks when he's on the mic, and his rapping is rough and abrasive -- he has a harsh rapping style to go with the harsh lyrics that define Pain, his first full-length album for Never So Deep/MCA. Pain is an appropriate title for this CD because pain is exactly what this CD talks about -- the pain of growing up in the projects, the pain of being poor, and the pain of being surrounded by drugs and violent crime. The environment that Infinity vividly (and angrily) describes on Pain isn't pretty, and between the harsh sound of his voice and his dark, troubling lyrics, this album doesn't give the listener much room to breathe. Infinity is hardly the first hardcore rapper to talk about ghetto life -- the southerner was only a baby when, in 1982, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five's seminal "The Message" gave listeners a no-nonsense account of the types of problems that plagued the inner city. And sadly, Pain reminds listeners that 20 years later, those poverty-ridden, high-crime areas (which could be in the South Bronx, South-Central L.A., or Infinity's native Charleston) had not improved. But rapping and production styles have evolved considerably since "The Message," and while Infinity's subject matter isn't groundbreaking, the best parts of this album manage to be fairly fresh-sounding. Even if Pain meanders at times, its best tracks (which include "Streets Claim Me," "Being a Nigga," and "Picture My Plan") are compelling. All things considered, Pain is among the more memorable CDs to come from rap's Dirty South school in the early 2000s.

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