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“Pain” by Kam Dutchie

Modern music videos are more than just a visual component to a stirring soundtrack; they’re an additional layer of emotion to be shared, often completely independent or clandestinely complementary of what lyrics can suggest on their own. Kam Dutchie takes this side of his artistry just as serious as he does the actual construction of fresh material, and that’s very obvious when looking at the new video for his single “Pain.” Equal parts cinema and unfiltered storytelling, “Pain” is everything its title would have us believe it to be with just a little more than what most might expect out of a new hip-hop release, and to me, it’s an ace way of getting to know Dutchie as the deep-feeling player he really is.

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The mix isn’t bone-dry, yet the sharp detail it lends even the quieter elements of the instrumentation behind the verses is pointed enough to put a machete to shame. There’s nothing in this melting pot of sonic strength that doesn’t have some sort of role to play, and while I don’t know that you have to be this direct to make a hit rap single work, there’s  an argument Dutchie makes in this performance for better, more efficient songcraft in the genre that I have a hard time dismissing.

We find lyrics elevated with the melodic twist of auto-tune rather than defined by the filtration the feature presents a lot of the trap and melodic hip-hop you’re likely to hear on the FM dial this spring, and though minimalist in nature, it definitely has an impact on how one appreciates the passion here. Kam Dutchie knows that leaving the virtuosic stuntin’ to the posers in his scene is the smartest way to distinguish what his message is in “Pain” from what a similarly-ambitious player might create with the same tools, and that alone puts him a step ahead of the competition right now.

I really love the casual attitude with which Dutchie broaches even the more aggressive junctures in this single, and although there’s always room for a focused attack when the mood calls for it, he doesn’t have to get particularly brawny in “Pain” to sound like a beast with the microphone just the same. He’s got technique down to a science, and anyone from the upstart multimillionaires to the veterans of this game will tell you that’s one of the essential ingredients in any recipe for long-term success.

Melodic but certainly not lacking in the muscularity most of us expect out of a hard-hitting hip-hop single and music video, Kam Dutchie’s “Pain” is straight fire for those listeners out there who demand something meaty out of their indie rap. There’s no reason to be ignoring the sizzle the American underground is putting out at the moment, and if you didn’t think so before listening to “Pain,” my gut tells me Dutchie is going to have you singing a different tune when his latest release concludes. He’s staying on my radar, as is the class of intriguing young hip-hop artists he’s at the forefront of.

John McCall

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