After considerable buzz for most of the year, Venom and Shishiliza’s Love Is Pain album has finally been released. Led by two singles that had the streets in a chokehold, “Sondela” and “Vuka“, the album’s mood and vibe was accurately forecasted by the two lead singles. Mellow and laid back amapiano soundscapes that have jazz and soul sensibilities abound throughout the project.
Each of the featured guests all stuck to the script, or as the girlies say, understood the assignment. From Blxckie to Sizwe Alakine, to DBN Gogo and Focalistic, Howard and Mpho Sebina et al. there’s a common understanding of what Venom and Shishiliza’s vision was when it came to the contributions required from everyone involved.
The 13-track project is one of the most musical projects to come out this year given how vast its sonic inspirations draw from. It also houses some of the best sung vocals of any record to come out this year, owing to the wide array of vocalists on the album.
It’s worth mentioning that coordinating a project with as many personnel as Love Is Pain, and executing it beautifully, as Venom and Shishiliza have managed to do, is a feat on its own. Having new school rappers such as Loki on the same billing as industry mainstays such as the late Riky Rick, and not to mention, the legendary Mr. Selwyn coming out of retirement, speaks volumes to what Venom and Shishiliza have managed to achieve with this project.
The SAMA Best hip hop album holder returns after a long hiatus from secular music. In light of the new path his life has taken, the contribution he makes to Love Is Pain is fitting – a spoken word piece that can also be seen as a prayer on “Love Is Pain (Interlude)”. He also delivers a verse praising the love of God on “Ngiyazifela”, proving that if you got it, you got it, regardless the time you’ve been off it, or what the subject matter is.
Love Is Pain is a well-thought out album that is as much contained as it is free and expressive. It is made up of an impressive and eclectic score of musical ideas that work extremely well, with a collection of talented vocalists and MCs who all deliver according to what the vision of the two custodians is. It makes for a great album that’s worth all the hype it generated.
Listen to Love Is Pain below: