I was pulling stuff out of the trunk when I looked down and noticed a CD. The CD was Hip Hop Roots which was a compilation of a bunch of different songs used in the early days of hip hop for beats. I grabbed the CD case, opened the cover, and looked down at a green CD with a shamrock on it. I smiled. This was no Hip Hop Roots album. This must be House of Pain’s Greatest Hits.

It was…though the actual title of this album is Shamrocks & Shenanigans – The Best of House of Pain and Everlast. It’s important to add the ‘and Everlast’ here because 6 of the 17 songs are just Everlast without House of Pain. Now I know this album came out 13 years ago (13 YEARS AGO!?!?!?!) but I really dig the album while being puzzled by it – so I wanted to take a second to give a brief opinion on it.

House of Pain broke through with their self-titled album in 1992 with the monster hit Jump Around. The song hit at a great time when rap was just really great, memorable, and fun. The rap world would change around 1993 (I always say starting with Tupac releasing Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.. followed by Wu-Tang dropping Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)) and while House of Pain’s two follow-ups were great albums they would never reach the success of their first album. It’s a damn shame because they made some great music together (though they would come back together for La Coka Nostra’s first album). Everlast would go on for an amazing solo career just a couple years after the break-up.

This compilation has some great choices and two puzzling omissions – though one omission is probably record company related.

The first thing I love about this album is that it includes both Who’s the Man off of the Who’s the Man soundtrack and Just Another Victim – House of Pain’s “duet” with Helmet from the Judgment Night soundtrack. Judgment Night was a horrid film but an amazing soundtrack which brought together groups like Run-DMC, Onyx, Ice-T, Pearl Jam, Faith No More, De La Soul, Mudhoney, Sonic Youth, and so many more. By the by watch the Who’s the Man movie and you can catch House of Pain hanging with Colin Quinn. Damn I love that movie. I realize that Who’s the Man was included on House of Pain’s second album…but I’ll always remember it from the OST.

While they are the last three tracks of this album I was quite surprised to see these three tracks included on this album. Everlast’s first album before the launch of House of Pain was not a commercial success and while there was three singles off Forever Everlasting none of them were “successful.” Now I think if I had to include a track from that album it would most certainly be The Rhythm which featured Ice-T (who Everlast came up under with The Syndicate), Donald D, and N’Dea Davenport who would soon land with the Brand New Heavies. Including these tracks is only interesting to see the progression of Everlast from that old school mid-to-late 80’s style to that 90’s “hardness” style to his country hip hop.

What’s missing? I think the most puzzling is the omission of I’m A Swing It off of Same As It Ever Was. While I always thought the track was okay it was playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 when I heard the song over and over and over again. I never got tired of it. Matter of fact playing that game brought the House of Pain albums back into rotation. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 sold 2.4 million copies. There are A LOT of gamers out there in the world who not only know Swing It but love that track. So why include two versions of Jump Around or 3 songs from Everlast’s rarely heard first album but not a track that many people know?

The other clear missing track is 1999’s Put Your Lights on from Santana’s comeback album Supernatural. The song wasn’t a runaway success but it did do decent on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Not only does the song kick ass (and benefit from Santana’s phenomenal guitar playing) but the duo won a Grammy for their song. That’s no tiny feat. Now I’m sure this song isn’t on the album because it was put out by Arista whose parent company is Sony, while Best of House of Pain was a Tommy Boy release (now owned by WMG aka Warner Bros Music Group).

One song I had never heard was the seventh track Punch Drunk. I swear it was an outtake from one of the albums (and it may possible still be) but, in researching, I found that Punch Drunk was on the soundtrack for Eddie – a really bad Whoopi Goldberg movie where she becomes the coach of the New York Knicks. No wonder I never heard of this song. It’s decent enough so I’m glad it was included here.

The third House of Pain album gets no love on this collection. Pass the Jinn is here but I never thought the song was the standout from that album. The Fed-Up Remix which featured Guru was always the track I could play over and over. That is a great song and, once again, I scratch my head at it not being included. Additionally the song Heart Full of Sorrow which featured Brand Nubian’s Sadat X was amazing and also should have been considered for inclusion here.

As far as the rest of the album there’s a decent selection. As the album moves back and forth from House of Pain tracks to later Everlast solo tracks there is a huge and notable difference in sound. Everlast’s later stuff sounds nothing like House of Pain. While a natural progression of a group can be well seen in many musical groups it just feels weird here because it isn’t a progression of House of Pain – just Everlast. I love the Everlast songs on here (well the ones from the later solo albums) but I think song placement on this album is just puzzling. It is lacking a consistent flow.

But you have Jump Around, Shamrocks and Shenanigans, What It’s Like, Black Jesus, Put on Your Shit Kickers, Ends, and On Point – plus a few other tracks. If you put this on in the car and drive around it will make you nod your head, reminisce, and probably have you singing along. It’s a very decent collection. With the digital age I would hope that someday Everlast will get his own Best Of while House of Pain gets a more fuller look at just their discography. Until then? I think I’ll keep spinning this album for awhile.