The release of Mars Ill’s hip-hop triumph ProPain is the very definition of “long-awaited.” Rap fans were salivating at the dangling carrot of a new Mars Ill album. However, no one was quite sure when the CD would come out. Not even Mars Ill.
“The first release was October of 2004,” Dust tells CBNmusic. “There was a sample on there that the lawyers were not comfortable with. They decided to push it all the way to June of .”
ManCHILD adds, “Then, it was just kind of dropping the ball on getting it ready to be released.”
The Atlanta duo of ManCHILD and Dust had to “revamp some things” after the June release date fell through. ProPain finally saw the light of day on April 25, 2006, to rave reviews. Mars Ill agrees with the critics. “We prayed about it definitely,” ManCHILD says. “It’s definitely our favorite record by far.”
This could be because the setbacks and delays afforded the group more time to perfect their masterpiece.
“We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it,” ManCHILD says. “We had time to take out stuff that didn’t work.”
Mars Ill has always been a group that marched to their own beat machine, and Dust explains that, while making ProPain, they weren’t looking for something that followed the current sounds in rap.
“We’re never the type of band that makes really trendy music,” Dust says. “I feel like whether it came out in 2004, 2006 or 2008, it’s timeless.”
“It still has legs; it’s still relevant,” ManCHILD concurs.
Mars Ill’s music has always stayed fresh because of their obsession with finding the perfect sample.
“Anything that we use is meant to be anonymous,” says Dust. “We’re not going to take somebody else’s popularity and transfer it to our own. I come from the old school production where our beats are drawing from all the classic music that came before you.”
It’s an art form that is lost on today’s hip-hop world where sampling pop songs for a catchy hook is a quick way to the top of the charts.
“Sampling is a necessary evil in our business. You just have to learn how to work within the game,” ManCHILD says. Read More Here
The introduction to the album makes it very clear that if you play around with propane, you’re liable to blow something up; well, that’s exactly what Mars ILL is attempting to do with this release, they’re setting out to make their music blow up! I really don’t even know where to begin with this album because there is so much to talk about, so I guess I’ll break it up into the two components of Mars ILL: DJ Dust & manCHILD. We’ll start with DJ Dust…
The production on this album is awesome; I mean, there’s really no other word that can be used to describe it. You honestly can’t listen to this album and pick out a bad beat, it’s that good. The sounds on this album are still your typical Mars ILL gritty underground sound, but this time around it’s got a little something extra that makes it more appealing to the masses. Before, Dust’s beats were geared towards more of the underground heads, but with Pro Pain he’s made it more accessible by hip-hop heads, skaters the general rap fan, and anyone else who may take a listen. I won’t even attempt to pick a favorite beat because I’d have to pick all of them.
As far as manCHILD goes, he straight brought it on this album, plain and simple. He changed up his style a bit on this one, and it proved to be the determining factor in taking this album to another level beyond anything he had done before. His lyrics are catchier on this one and just resonate in your ear much better than anything he had done before. An example of this would be “Stand Back and Watch” as both the lyrics and hook are both very memorable. Even when he gets serious and hits on social issues, it still comes off hot like in the track “More” featuring Anthony David and labelmate Ahmad Jones (of 4th Avenue Jones); the lyricism on that track is sick and hits home on a lot of things America is dealing with right now. Don’t even get me on the story telling in tracks like “When Heaven Scrapes the Pavement,” it’s just bananas…
I don’t really know what I can say about this album to make you want to go buy it. You just need to have it! Mars ILL raised the bar to an immense level with Pro Pain! I didn’t think they could do it, but they did; they delivered an album that makes their previous releases look like child’s play. Both Dust & manCHILD were at the top of their game in delivering this masterpiece, and all of the accompanying emcees that dropped verses were on point as well. This is hands down my favorite release of 2005, it’s as simple as that.