Album Review- Hopsin - Pound Syndrome
Hopsin is an artist who can be polarizing. While he looks like he could be a nerdy or shock rapper sort of like Tyler the Creator, there is a serious depth beneath the veneer that doesn't fit the conventional. He has had several long form videos such as his 'Mind of Hopsin" series but he also has had struggles, both dealing with the fame and the industry and just being in hip-hop in general. He is someone that a lot of mainstream fans would look past but this new album, "Pound Syndrome" could change your mind.
"The Pound" introduction is a spitter's intro, with a beat that is at a nice tempo that allows Hopsin to go off and start the album with a serious rap about his style and status and is a good mix of what you will encounter coming forward. Now the first official track, "Forever Ill" has a hook that I don't look and an awkward sound that will definitely remind people of something off the beaten path like an odd future but that's more in the production, the verses are straight up back pack hip-hop as he criticizes other rappers in the industry. I enjoyed "Ramona" with Jarren Benton which is a story about a crazed groupie named Ramona. It would probably remind folks of something Eminem might have done but it also happens to be more creative than a lot of the songs you'll hear on most albums.
"Fort Collins" with Dizzy Wright is a song he made to apologize to fans and explain skipping out on a show in Colorado and the struggles he goes through with dealing with being an artist who is known. "No Hope" is a song for 'the successful one' in a crew or family who feels the pressure of people leaning on them to support their lifestyles. "Ill Mind of Hopsin 7" the series where Hopsin questions and discusses everything that he is thinking about, from the industry to faith came out quite a while ago (over a year) but it is still worth a listen for anyone who wants to hear rap verses with some real content.
"No Fucks Given" is average in it doesn't stand out amongst the rest of the songs. I'm not jumping over "Mr. Jones" either. "I Just Can't" ends the album and the track doesn't really go with the flow as Hopsin goes in on the industry again. Speaking of going in on the industry, the skit "No Words" has him damn near recreating Future's career in under 2 minutes. I really like "Fly" which is created just to emphasize what the content of the rhymes is on the song as Hop encourages self reflection and discovery to find yourself.
Truthfully I think Hopsin is one of the more surprising and better rappers that is overlooked by the mainstream because of his image and the fact he isn't a hood or trap rapper. He isn't cool or all about swag either. This album is more about what has happened with him since he released his debut and the things that have changed around him. While he was already critical of the industry he is able to speak from a different perspective now. The thing is his voice isn't the best and most conducive to constant listening but the biggest issue is perception, he isn't in the 'cool' mainstream of urban culture (which he tackles on the album by the way) so he will always be looked at differently but he is worth listening to.