"Jump Around," an impossibly infectious and catchy single, instantly elevated House of Pain from an unknown white hip-hop group to near-stars when it became a massive crossover hit in 1992. It made the band and it also broke the band, consigning them to the level of one-hit wonders. House of Pain continued to release records after their eponymous 1992 debut and "Jump Around," yet none of them gained much attention, partially because of the band's self-consciously loutish behavior. Led by rapper Everlast, the group celebrated their Irish-American heritage by wearing green, drinking prodigious amounts of beer, and swearing constantly. It certainly earned them attention at the outset, particularly when it was tied to a single like "Jump Around," but the bottom quickly fell out of their career. The group's second album, 1994's Same as It Ever Was, went gold, but it failed to generate a hit single, and by the time of 1996's Truth Crushed to Earth Shall Rise Again, the band had been forgotten.
Everlast (born Erik Schrody, August 18, 1969) became fascinated by hip-hop while he was in high school, eventually becoming part of Ice-T's Rhyme Syndicate. His association with Ice-T led to a contract with Warner Bros., who released his debut album, Forever Everlasting, in 1990. After the record bombed, Everlast formed House of Pain with his high school friend Danny Boy (born Daniel O'Connor) and DJ Lethal (born Leor DiMant), a Latvian immigrant. Released on Tommy Boy Records, the group's eponymous 1992 debut was co-produced by Muggs, who masterminded Cypress Hill's groundbreaking debut. Muggs gave "Jump Around" its distinctive, incessant beat, which merged a deep bass groove with drum loops and Public Enemy-styled sirens. On the back of Kris Kross' spring hit "Jump," "Jump Around" became a huge hit in the summer of 1992, peaking at number three on the pop charts. Both the single's video and the remainder of House of Pain celebrated the group's Irish heritage in a tongue-in-cheek fashion that quickly became shtick. Throughout their 1993 tour, the group ran into trouble with promoters and the law, culminating in Everlast's March arrest for possessing an unregistered, unloaded pistol at Kennedy Airport. He was sentenced to community service, and later that year, the group began work on their second album.
Like its predecessor, 1994's Same as It Ever Was was produced by Muggs. Upon its summer release, the record was greeted with surprisingly strong reviews and sales, debuting at number 12 on the charts. However, the sales quickly slowed as "On Point" failed to become a hit. Most of the next two years were spent in seclusion, and the group returned in the fall of 1996 with Truth Crushed to Earth Shall Rise Again, a record that was ignored by both the press and the public. Everlast returned in 1998 as a solo act, and gained critical acclaim for his debut, Whitey Ford Sings the Blues.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine