Sam Pain sets sights on rap success

Zach Isaacs and Chau Nguyen

Sam Pain, an up-and-coming DC artist and Wilson alumnus, came out with his third mixtape, “Safe House” on February 11th. 

Pain details his DC upbringing and new life in Los Angeles with complex beats and increasingly refined rap skill, embedded in timely features. Pain gives his traditional style, talking about the hard upbringing and bright future for the skilled MC. “The greatest influence to my music [is] not necessarily anyone,” Pain explained. “It’s the circumstances and situation that I’m in. It’s my mom’s life struggle that I witnessed.”

Growing up on Edgewood St. in Northeast DC, Pain was appreciative of the exposure to diversity and life experience from attending Wilson. “Wilson saved my life. Living in a rough neighborhood, where I went to school with all Black kids, [attending] Wilson gives me a totally different outlook than in the hood.” 

Graduating in 2018, Pain often references his city and former high school in tracks such as “Ebt, “Poverty,” “Taar (Young Ma Remix),” or other songs where he shouts out Wilson’s iconic atrium. 

Like many other Tigers, Pain played basketball during his freshman year under Coach Hernandez, whose “strong demeanor” was a great source of motivation. “He influenced me to do good. Even though I gave up [playing basketball] in 10th grade, I feel like I have to do more to prove myself to him.” Other than sports, Pain also joined other extracurricular activities during his four years at Wilson, including performing at Homecoming and “being Ms. Williams’ second-in-command” in choir.

Pain has collaborated with other notable DC names such as Lightshow, Lil Lo, JG Riff, and the late Dirty Swipey. Recognition from the famous rapper Meek Mill on an Instagram freestyle has led to rumored interest from Jay-Z; while Jadakiss was also interested in signing the talented DC artist. The interest these two rap legends have expressed in Pain’s talent is a testament to the Wilson alumnus’ true potential. 

Recently moving to Los Angeles, Pain hopes to further his career as a rapper and an artist, being in the vicinity of some of the best musical talent in the country and world. Signing his deal with Roc Nation, a private full-service entertainment agency and community founded by Jay-Z, Pain looks forward to more “opportunities, recognition and accessibility” to his music. 

With a bright future and deserved attention, the name Sam Pain is, indeed, a source of excitement for any DC native or Wilson student. When asked about what advice he would give to an aspiring rapper from Wilson, Pain suggested what he wished he had done at the age of 15: “Keep on working, and use Wilson to your advantages. Your music will spread like wildfires.”