October 3, 2014
Pion-Ear is an opportunity for Call staffers to highlight a certain musician they know. Everything from live concerts to new albums to up-and-coming artists are covered. Each album or artist is rated out of five stars.
The underground hip-hop scene is flooded with lost talent, but there may be no artist more unique or deserving of attention than 29-year-old Marcus Jamal Hopson (Hopsin). After dropping out of high school in 2004 Hopsin used a microphone and Fruity Loops music software to pursue his passion. Instead of following the traditional formula of abusing catchy hooks and placing too much emphasis on predictable beats, Hopsin relies on storytelling and honest lyrics to carry his songs.
Hopsin’s most recent single “Ill Mind of Hopsin 7” was released July 18 and explores his loss of faith in a chilling fashion. The “Ill Mind” series of singles represents the best of Hopsin’s work, and they’re definitely the place to start listening to his music, but Hopsin has plenty of earlier work to explore. His songs encompass everything from lost love to showing off his skating tricks, but the rhymes are genius whatever the theme may be.
In 2009’s Gazing at the Moonlight, Hopsin’s first studio album, he received little support from his then label, Ruthless Records, so he broke off to form Funk Volume with five fellow underground artists including Dizzy Wright. Under his own label, Hopsin released his second album Raw in 2010. Songs like “Nocturnal Rainbows” and “Sag My Pants” instantly boosted his popularity.
Hopsin has also left his mark on other artists’ songs through features. “Am I Psycho?” a track from Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne’s 2011 release All 6’s and 7’s also includes the popular artist B.O.B. and gave Hopsin his first breakthrough to a more mainstream audience.
In late-2013 Hopsin released the album Knock Madness, and his collaboration with Tech N9ne on “Rip Your Heart Out” confirms his growing recognition in the rap community. Other tracks of interest are “The Fiends Are Knocking,” “Hop is Back” and “I Need Help.” These songs contain the creative, meaningful and sometimes humorous lyrics Hopsin is known for, but they also have some of his better hooks. Overall, the album is solid top to bottom and is definitely worth checking out.
Hopsin’s greatest talent lies in his willingness to say anything. He makes shameless references to anything from Pokemon to Scooby Doo, yet his songs still maintain the serious atmosphere he intends. While Hopsin enjoys sending positive influences in his music by discouraging drugs and dropping out of school, his lyrics aren’t for the faint of heart. F-bombs are dropped regularly along with other profanity that is generally frowned upon, but the underlying message is there.
One source of his lack of popularity in the mainstream is the absence of any real pump-up songs or club music. Odds are you won’t hear a Hopsin track at a party, but at home with headphones it’s very compelling to play his music and just enjoy the ride.
His music isn’t for everyone, but Hopsin deserves your attention nonetheless, and in an industry that becomes less unique every year, he’s a rare gem of a rapper.