DRAKE Pain 1993 (feat. Playboi Carti) gets 6/10

Drake feat. Playboi Carti

Pain 1993
OVO Republic


The long-awaited collaborative single Pain 1993 from Drake and Playboi Carti is here. Sadly, a strong vocal performance from Drake and Pierre Bourne’s always fantastic production is unable to save this underdeveloped and uninspired track from becoming yet another weak single release this year from both Drake and Carti.

The track comes in the wake of two recent singles from both featured artists, with Drake’s Toosie Slide and Carti’s @ Meh dropping last month. Both singles proved to be far from the artists’ best. Drake has since released Dark Lane Demo Tapes, a collection of previously unreleased or leaked music. This included the long-rumoured collaborative track with Playboi Carti, now coming in the form of Pain 1993.

The title of the track itself is a reference to fashion designer and long-time friend of Carti’s, Ian Connor’s motto, “Born from Pain 1993”. With heavy marketing of the track by Connors brand Sickö and the unexpected drop of Dark Lane Demo Tapes, anticipation for the track couldn’t have been higher.

Pierre Bourne delivers an atmospheric and wavy beat, similar to what we have come to expect from Bourne’s production in the past. The beat blends together well the styles of both artists, however the track definitely feels more Carti than Drake.

Pain 1993 is also heavily reminiscent of singles off Carti’s last project, Die Lit, such as Foreign or Choppa Won’t Miss. The production keeps the track lively and doesn’t become stale due to the short runtime. However, this short runtime is used to hide the overall lack of substance to the track. There is little to no variation within the beat. This is less attributed to Bourne’s production, than the overall lack in direction, focus and forethought present.

Pain 1993 feels less like a fully developed song, and more like Drake and Carti simply jumping onto one of Pierre Bourne’s beats, with little thought to the structure or focus of the track. While Drake delivers an instantly catchy and unique flow on both his hook and verse, it is far from his best, however, he still manages to overshadow Playboi Carti’s weak feature. Just like on @ Meh, Carti leans in on his ‘baby voice’, made famous on Die Lit, in exchange for a genuinely appealing verse.

Carti feels more like an imitation of himself. His verse entirely throws off the flow and pacing of the song set by Bourne’s production and Drake’s proceeding vocals. The track itself would have worked better without the Carti feature.

Sadly, what could have been one of hip hop’s most exciting pairings, has proved to be an underwhelming and lacklustre track. The main flaw comes in the form of the lack of structure and variety. Pain 1993 struggles to find any identity of its own and doesn’t come close to the quality found off some of the artists’ previous projects.