I’ve been following Hopsin since I heard “Ill Mind of Hopsin 5” in 2012 (yes I was a little late to consider myself a Day 1 fan, but I’ve still been around a while). The first album of his I listened to is called “Raw” and it is exactly that. I was hooked right away. He is often considered a horrorcore rapper, but he can step out of that element on any track. Hopsin can write a song about anything and can do so with aggression, passion, sincerity, etc. Another great aspect of his style is his ability to effortlessly switch between flows and accents. Hopsin has no boundaries with what he raps about, meaning if something is on his mind, he’ll tell you about it. His latest album, Pound Syndrome, is no exception.
Hopsin is one of the best storytellers in the rap game. He displays this ability on my favorite song on the album, “Fort Collins.” The song is an apology to the city of Fort Collins (he skipped a show there during the Knock Madness tour). You can feel the sincerity and honesty in his voice as he explains what was going on with him during that time of his life. The song also gets an awesome assist from fellow Funk Volume rapper Dizzy Wright (who you should also check out). You could know nothing about the situation before listening to the song, but afterwards feel like you were there right along side Hop. “Ramona” is also another great example of Hopsin’s storytelling ability, as he and Jarren Benton (another great rapper on the Funk Volume label) rap about a fan that stalks them.
But Hop can do much more than tell a good story. He will make you think. Tracks like “Fly” and “Ill Mind 7” dig deep into Hopsin’s thoughts and feelings about religion, government, and consumerism (among others). Whether you agree or disagree with his message, these songs are real, straight from the heart, and mind opening.
He also has a song about his girlfriend that can be applied to many people in relationships. He opens up his heart on this song and tells the world about something so personal, which makes me respect him as an artist that much more. Anyone willing to talk about issues so important to them gains my respect. Artists who rap about money, cars, clothes, and hoes are too commonplace, especially in mainstream hip-hop (Hopsin’s skit “No Words” expertly tackles this topic). He keeps it real all the time. This album is his best in my opinion. It’s artists like Hopsin and the whole Funk Volume crew who keep the hip-hop I love alive and well.