The long awaited solo project from AzBenzz is finally here, and it lives up to every expectation he’s built of himself over the years and more. From his various collabs and features to the singles leading up to this moment, Benzz has proven time and time again why he deserves to be LA’s next superstar, and this album only reinforces that. “Pain Is Love” is just 13 tracks, but within those tracks Benzz gives us everything, from love ballads to west coast bangers. With appearances from long time collaborators, friends, and family, “Pain Is Love” is the unity of what makes Benzz Benzz.
On the intro we are greeted with a monologue by Mama Benzz, comforting and preparing us for what’s next to come (although finding out Benzz’s real name is Mauricio might just be one of the biggest surprises on the album). The intro transitions flawlessly into the album’s first banger “Energy” featuring Big $wift, whose delivery of the incredibly addicting opening lines ”Now you say you love me you gon’ ride ay, I just want the bop and I slide ay” perfectly encapsulates what real foo shit means. The funky bass lines of SalTreze brings the best out of the duo as they go back and forth about the kind of energy they permeate as they roll through the streets of LA. “Forever” is mellow ballad in which Benzz examines his past relationships and affirms his loyalty to his people. The guitar melody brings the best out of Benzz as he allows himself to float and flow naturally over the soothing instrumental.
“Vibin” is the horny anthem of the summer which has Benzz himself vibing and delivering a spectrum of melodies. Although it is very short, the simplicity adds to the charm. It is easy riding music and essential for any wild escapades brought about by summer love. Finishing strong the album closes out with an incredibly powerful run starting with LowTheGreat produced “Jeans”, a certified banger with a fun sample that makes it a standout track from the get go that Benzz’s sing song rapping flow could only do justice. Followed by “Ain’t Stressing” with San Francisco representative Fvbe, whose baritone deliver is a welcome switch up to the mostly sweet sounds Benzz has provided throughout the album. The droning synths and lyrics such as “My chain speak back, my pockets fat I’m flexin’, I still don’t sleep, my name hold weight, I ain’t stressin” is the spirit of what makes Cali stand out, brought to life by Benzz. The album closes out with a prayer from Rosecrans Ave.’s very own founder, Rosecrans Vic, delivering a sermon on hoes, pain and love and blessing the future star. With all the ingredients for success it’s only a matter of time before AzBenzz takes center stage, but for now we just vibin.