It’s finally here. Hopsin’s third album, Knock Madness, was OFFICIALLY released yesterday (it leaked on Monday). It took three years and a breakup with his girlfriend to push Marcus to do it—but that’s still better than Dr. Dre, whose Detox album has been notoriously overdue for a decade. Knock Madness feels like it’s suffering from a split personality. Literally. Throughout its 75 minutes, Marcus Hopson struggles with his newfound fame and pits himself against his own creation: Hopsin, the rap persona with white eyes who has apparently consumed his life. Some songs are just plain fun, and they sound like Hopsin had fun with them too. Hop Is Back humorously tears a part mainstream rappers; Who’s There flaunts a nasty verse from labelmate Jarren Benton; Rip Your Heart Out pits Hopsin against Tech N9ne for hardest verse; Nollie Tre Flip awesomely couples Hop’s love for skateboarding with a 90s-type flow; Hip Hop Sinister shows Marcus taking on the role of a hip-hop villain; Good Guys Get Left Behind, a song that most guys can relate to, talks about how girls always seem to go for the bad (wrong) guy; Bad Manners Freestyle does exactly what the title implies; and Lunch Time Cypher takes rap back to the high school lunch room, where Hop exchanges raw lyrics with fellow indie rappers Passionate MC and G-Mo Skee (definitely check out the latter; he makes some nasty music). But then on the other hand, some songs sound like Hopsin is contemplating suicide and show the MC baring his soul for the audience. Fiends Are Knocking acknowledges his fanbase’s irritation over the album’s delay; Tears To Snow discusses how fame attracted superficial friends who view Hopsin as a disposable ATM machine; Dream Forever addresses a nasty break-up that ends with Hop’s suicide; I Need Help captures the pressures and entrapments of fame; Old Friend (what used to be Ill Mind 6) delves into his best friend’s addiction to crystal meth; What’s My Purpose describes, very accurately, how people are losing their personalities to technology and social media; and then there’s Caught in the Rain, where Hop bids farewell to the music he’s relentlessly pursued for the last eight years. “So many women and the money is great/But this life just isn’t me, and I don’t want to be fake/I didn’t think it would come to this day/It’s time I put my alter ego to the side and leave him stuck in his grave.” But is this really the end of Hopsin? His fanbase is as big as ever, and Knock Madness is currently sitting in the number four slot on iTunes—a very impressive feat for an independent artist. Overall, the album is pretty awesome but not exactly perfect. Hopsin’s hooks and beats, all of which he does himself, come off as a bit repetitive and tiring. Regardless, Knock Madness is an incredible piece of work that conveys hip-hop in its rawest, most lyrical form–and it just might be the last one we ever hear from Marcus Hopson. Grade: B+ Recommended songs: Hop is Back, Rip Your Heart Out, Lunch Time Cypher, Dream Forever Like what you read?
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