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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Album Review - Hopsin- Knock Madness

Hopsin is one of the new generation of rappers I was referring to a couple of weeks back when I wrote about black rappers breaking the mold and going in different directions. Known for hating everyone and colorful contacts, Hopsin is another version of Tyler the Creator to older hip-hop listeners like myself. His attention seeking moments are a major turn off especially when they seem to be erratic with no real solid reasoning behind them. With that said, I know he can rap a bit so the release of his first major album was as good a chance as any for me to introduce myself to him. Here is my review of Hopsin's new album "Knock Madness".

The opener is pretty much a true title track in a lot of ways and it is a throwback to an older time with album structure in a way. "The Fiends are Knocking" is a good introduction to Hopsin's mind state, going over where he came from then a 'discussion' between Hopsin and an 'imaginary' fan of his. "Hop is Back" is the attempt to have shock rap and Hop tries to talk some trash about Kanye and Kendrick Lamar amongst others and trying to establish the idea he doesn't care. However, some of his bars are so plain and stagnant I felt like it was straight out of a 1993 record. "Who's There" with Jarren benton and Dizzy Wright with Jarren dropping the hottest verse in the song.





Hopsin tries to get out his frustration of dealing with the industry and his life and relationships in "Tears To Snow". It's a good song and you can tell he has true passions and demons in his life. This is why he does so much of the other stuff for attention. "Nollie Trey Flip" is one of those songs for the young folks who get on the skateboard and hit the streets. The beat kind of knocks and sounds like some pseudo 90's production. "Gimmie That Money" is about the hangers on who want to be around Hopsin for what he has in his pockets.

"I need Help" is uptempo but it's pretty decent. I like it. He also has a song with Tech 9yne , "Rip Your Heart Out" which is a hybrid mix of thugged out rap, horrorcore and shock rap with a slight rock sound to it. All of that might turn people off but it isn't a bad song."Good Guys Get Left Behind" is about Hop getting treated wrong by a young lady and he mixes in brash words with a kind of naivete that you kind of expect from him. "Old Friend" is about moving on from the way you used to behave and the people you used to know. In this case it's due to using drugs and becoming burned out.


"Hip-Hop Sinister" is another attempt to be shocking as Hopsin yells over a faux rock track. The "Bad Manners Freestyle" is just rapping over a beat and "Still Got Love For You" is another song where Hopsin talks about someone who had a chance to stick with him and be a party on his rise but whom didn't. the "lunch Time Cypher" with Passionate MC and G Mo Skee is straight forward battle rap. "Jungle Bash" features SwizZz (not beats) has a simple decent beat and they spit some decent bars. Hopsin goes back to talking to his 'perfect lady' in "Dream Forever" because he doesn't see her as a reality. He also shows his political side on "What's My Purpose" as he talks about finding a deeper meaning. It's a solid song. The album ends with "Caught in the Rain" which is about getting cauht in the system, trying to get success and handle it and really find out who he is.



This album is different than what I thought it would be. Hopsin is a lot more grounded than I would have expected. A lot of his subjects are really simple to understand and time honored. The thing that he does is throw in some expletives and weird cadences to make himself seem more shocking. The other thing is this album has a vintage feel to it. From the top the hooks are kind of generic, sort of like album filler tracks from the late 90's. It's not really bad, but they don't stand out a lot either and there are times when his lyrics are really really simple. The sequencing also suffers a bit because it's no progression of the album, just 18 songs between the beginning and ending tracks which work where they are. The album could have been culled down to 13 or 14 and been a bit tighter because by the end there is a little bit of fatigue. If you thought you knew what Hopsin stood for but had never really heard him, you might want to give him another shot, the album is a bit too long but he actually has more decent content than most rappers out now and with a little more work on song building the overall tightness would step up a bit.

Rating: 2.5/5

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