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Knock Madness’ nearly perfect

Drew Kocak | Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I would like to start this off by saying that I am not an avid follower of rap and hip-hop. I can’t even say that I know more than one song by Tupac or Biggie. Okay, I don’t know any songs by either of them. Hate me. But I feel, in an industry saturated with painfully meaningless radio rap, Hopsin has made a name for himself as an artist truly passionate and serious about his craft.  

After starting underground, as most respected rappers do (apologies to all you Drake fans out there), Hopsin has accrued quite a following, including 1.5 million fans on Facebook. A west coast rapper, I like to compare his style to that of the revered Eminem. At this point, some of you are probably dismissing this review thinking, “Hold up, this kid doesn’t even know any Pac songs and now he’s comparing a rapper I’ve never heard of with Marshall?” 

Give me a chance to explain.

Hopsin raps about whatever is on his mind at any given moment. He doesn’t worry about putting off an image to please audiences. His music is anything but insincere – the emotions he conveys through his lyrics tend to involve extreme levels of pent up anger at the world around him. His lyrics can be cruder than they need to be at times and involve a good bit of hate toward promiscuous women. But though he has his crude songs, he writes what he wants, strives to write not just a few inspirational songs and backs all of this up with lyrical prowess, much like Eminem.

Now that I’ve explained myself, I’ll focus on Hopsin’s latest release, “Knock Madness.”

The album opens up with a more serious track, “The Fiends Are Knocking,” including his thoughts on the hype behind the album, then transitions into inspirational stories about how Hopsin has changed fans for the good. These stories gave me that tingle you get when an artist establishes that brief little emotional connection through their music and lyrics. (Or is that just me?) Either way, it’s an impressive track. 

In the next song, “Hop Is Back,” Hopsin gets hostile, calling out Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. He raps, “I got a problem yo/I was ecstatic to buy Yeezus/But I burned it first, heard it and snapped it in five pieces.” He goes on to address Kendrick saying, “His high is still really short to me.” 

This single caused a good bit of controversy, as well as some warnings from fans cautioning Hop not to get on Kendrick’s bad side. It’s definitely worth checking out.

“Hip Hop Sinister” displays an angry Hop shouting about George Zimmerman, self-righteous rappers and his own lyrical ability.  It’s a “Rap God” type of song in which Hopsin defines his position in the rap game. While Eminem claims to be the greatest rapper alive, Hopsin secures his spot as the bad guy of rap.

Another single on the album, “Old Friend,” is actually the sixth song in the “Ill Mind” series Hopsin has released. This series includes six songs in which Hopsin expresses his social views, and he does so quite strongly. “Old Friend” shows a sad Hopsin reminiscing over a friend he lost (mentally) to crystal meth. The choruses are soulfully sung by Hop, and every verse ends with a line about the fire of drugs burning his friend out in the end. The final lines involve a teary-sounding Hop and a trancelike chant about crystal meth, artistically representing his friend’s addiction to the substance.

I would have given this album a perfect five if I believed in perfect scores. Hopsin is swiftly climbing to the top of the rap game and his confidence leads me to believe he’ll become an even bigger name in rap than he already is. In a recent interview, he spoke about blowing up, “It’s going to happen. How do I know? Because I am a human on earth and if one human does something, then I can do it too. There’s no difference.”

 

Contact Drew Kocak at wkocak@nd.edu