If you haven’t heard of indie rapper Hopsin yet, then believe me—it won’t be long before you do. Personally, I find him to be the best thing to happen to rap in a long time. But first, a little background on this artist: In 2007, Marcus Hopson (see how he came up with his stage name?! Brilliant!) was signed to Ruthless Records, a label owned by the wife of deceased rap legend Easy E. After two years of album delays and poor sales, Hopsin left Ruthless Records with no future prospects. According to the rapper, he then locked himself in his basement for a summer, where he would spend a copious amount of time studying other rappers’ lyrics and styles. Eventually, he would emerge from that basement with his own unique style, a lyrical ability that most rappers can’t hope to match, and a new look. He gave himself white contacts, which would become his signature trademark. Hopsin went on to create his own label, Funk Volume, in 2009 and began marketing himself through the best online tool available for modern musicians: YouTube. With the combination of well-made, entertaining videos and a distinct message, it wasn’t long before Hopsin’s internet buzz began to grow. Just yesterday, he celebrated his one millionth “like” on Facebook. See here: http://instagram.com/p/b4njomn9Yj/
Hopsin’s style combines the preachy messages of Tupac with the surreal, twisted lyrics of Eminem. Often called the Black Slim Shady, Hopsin allows the listener to journey into his “ill mind” by sharing personal details of his life and telling fictitious stories that make your jaw drop. He can also be downright wicked and absurd when he wants to be. For instance, in the song I’m Not Crazy, he raps about beating babies with bags of oranges (on a side note, in his 60 Minutes interview, Eminem describes how he hates when people say that nothing rhymes with the word “orange.” In this song, Hopsin rhymes it several times). What separates Hopsin most from other rappers, besides witty lyrics and visceral storytelling, is his anti-drug message and his comments on the materialism and superficiality of mainstream rap. To demonstrate this latter message, Hopsin has attacked a number of rappers: Lil Wayne, Drake, and Tyler the Creator, just to name a few. Hopsin has released two studio albums, Gazing in the Moonlight (which flopped at Ruthless Records) and Raw, several mixtapes, and a song called Ill Mind of Hopsin, which has since gone on to birth four sequels. Earlier today, this indie success announced the release date of his third, much delayed album Knock Madness (November 26) and also released the sixth edition of his Ill Mind collection. See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vuv2mvfO_mg.
This song is basically a sequel to the song Chris Dolmeth, where he discusses his best friend’s addiction to crystal meth (I wonder if he’s been taking the blue stuff. Breaking Bad anyone?) The video probably has the highest production quality of any Hopsin video yet. The song itself is good but really nothing special. Personally, I find it to be the weakest link in the Ill Mind chain so far. His best has to be Ill Mind 4, where he takes a few bars to rap from the perspective of a groupie and drop this line: “It’s simple Marcus/I want to blow it and stick it in like a Nintendo cartridge.” AMAZING! It was also in this song where he promised fans his next album. However, two Ill Minds and two years later, we still haven’t gotten it. Despite my disappointment with this song, I’m excited for November 26 and can’t wait to see what Marcus does with the long-awaited Knock Madness.
Recommended Songs: Lucifer Effect, Ill Mind 4, I’m Not Crazy, Am I A Psycho, Nocturnal Rainbows, Chris Dolmeth, Sexy Cyber, Heather Nicole