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Hopsin Delivers Raw Lyricism In ‘Knock Madness’

What truly lurks inside the ill mind of Hopsin? That is something the lyricist’s annual video series of the same name could never really answer, not with any real depth at least; those records are small pieces of a much grander, more vivid sonic puzzle. There is a great deal rustling around the cranium of Marcus Hopson, and it has far less to do with hostility or antagonism than his confrontational reputation suggests. Hopsin seeks simply to be understood, and he is slowly learning that giving that vulnerability a voice in his lyrics makes for truly inspired music. Knock Madness, Hopsin’s third studio album, is the next step in his evolution as an artist, and while the project isn’t without growing pains, it showcases his lyrical dexterity in a way that expands his appeal without alienating his core fans. Basically, Knock Madness is a stepping stone album, the kind that leads to even greater music in the long term. It produces some pretty solid music here in the present, too.

Hopsin is of the same ilk as underground staple Tech N9ne—a man with whom he collaborates on the album—and he’s been wise to follow the Kansas City MC’s business model: longevity as a result of sustained excellence providing a very specific product to a very hungry audience. Both MCs explore subject matter that casual fans might find disturbing, both are wildly skilled rappers and both take great pleasure in showcasing their talents on a whim. But Hopsin may possess greater crossover appeal—his flows are far less erratic and the progression of his schemes are easier to follow, even when he aggressively packs syllables together in clumps with the impact of a head-on collision. He’ll never disregard his base though, and his third studio release—a product of his own Funk Volume label—is a testament to that: evolution without compromise.

Knock Madness is a visceral experience that forces you to see the world through Hopsin’s colored contact lenses. The album is unquestionably heavy throughout, but the rapper himself shoulders most of its weight; he never asks you to bare his burden, but you feel compelled to, and as a result it takes a real emotional toll. It’s rather existential in many aspects. Hopsin masterfully bridges the gap between the despicable character he creates in his raps—one who mocks the vilest of behaviors and considers everything a crude joke—and the human being he actually is, and he finds refuge for both buried deep beneath elaborate horror flick-score synth arrangements of the Fruity Loop variety. He strays ever so slightly from his patented formula from time to time, but never far enough to cause concern. Experimentation is a sign of growth, and even when Hop tries new things they are lathered with his signature aesthetic. Very rarely do the novel ideas come from way out of left field.

Regardless of the content though, wordplay takes center stage on Knock Madness. He strings together sentences like, “I’m sicker than sticking my freaking dick inside a bitch’s syphilis cooch,” and it’s mesmerizing. Most of the album’s highlights put his masterful technique on display, and there are few moments that don’t dazzle. The synth piano-laced “I Need Help” produces some of the MCs most elastic flows to date, coupling a chop of his own vocals with quotes like “FV doin’ shit so bigheaded I’m on your side now, nigga fuck us.” Frequent collaborator SwizZz tags along once again for the heavy-handed “Jungle Bash,” which builds around drum programming worthy of the song’s title. “Hip Hop Sinister” is the closest to Raw as the new album gets, and each bar is like relentlessly pummeling one’s knuckles into a brick wall until they crust over with blood. “Old Friend” or “Ill Mind Of Hopsin 6″ detail the affect of drug addition on someone he once knew you understand why he’s so cynical. It is one of many glimpses into Hopsin’s personal life, and it contributes to the album’s brilliance turning him from an angry sociopath one minute to an endearing victim the next. Knock Madness wins because it balances the specific with the universal.

Hopsin considers retirement on the album—well, he doesn’t really consider it he suggests it—but we should all hope he doesn’t follow through. Knock Madness is indeed a stepping stone album, one that can only produce even better music in the future. It will require some resilience, but the foundation is set. This album could be the first Hopsin album in a long line of really great Hopsin albums. Or it can be the last Hopsin album. Only he can decide. In either case, Knock Madness will, at the very least, serve as a peek into the wildly entertaining thought process of one of hip-hop’s most misunderstood characters. –Sheldon Pearce

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  • NormanGalang#RapNerdsUnite

    Great album! I recommend it to anyone, no matter what genre they’re into. Hop speaks up about a lot of personal issues that all young people go through. And this record easily cater sto hardcore rap fans with his ear-pounding production and precise, loud, swift-cut flows. http://www.normangalang.wordpress.com #RAPNERDSUNITE

  • SouljaSucksGloryHoleDicks

    Dope album. Liked it as much as Raw.

  • Rigby

    Good review. Good album.


    this album blew me away, i dont know why i’ve seen people hate it. i say check it out.

  • Kosi

    Amazing album. Great review. Felt Lyrics shoulda gotten an XXL

  • YungKizz

    best album so far 2013 ef the haters hopsin is here to stay for life

    • spreadeaglecrosstheblock

      is this nigga serious?

      • YungKizz

        okay u tell me who better

        • yaaaabissh

          your just mad cause the best rapper to ever pick up the mic is white holla at me when hop sells 50 mill in the us and picks up a few grammys buddys gunna be as relevant as ja rule in a few years

          • YungKizz


    • Kenny Lomas

      I’m a big fan of Hopsin, and I like Knock Madness, but Yeezus and Nothing Was the Same are much more accomplished albums. I hope Hop gets the recognition he deserves with this album, because I think he needs to move to the next level musically, in terms of who he works with.

      • Chris M. McDade

        Haven’t heard Yeezus yet, but Nothing Was The Same was a mediocre album in my opinion. The best thing about that album was the production.

        • Kenny Lomas

          Again, you’re entitled to that opinion, but the general consensus is that it’s a great album, bordering on classic status.

          • Chris M. McDade

            It’s definitely not a classic. Only time will tell.

          • Kenny Lomas

            We can’t really say whether it is a classic or not because these sort of opinions tend to form over time.

          • Chris M. McDade

            That’s what I said. Only time will tell.

          • Kenny Lomas

            No you said it definitely wasn’t a classic. Then contradicted yourself by saying, ‘only time will tell’.

          • Chris M. McDade

            No, I never contradicted myself. I said it’s not a classic album, because it’s still a pretty new album. 10 years from now, we’ll know if it’s a classic album or not. I don’t think it will be, because it doesn’t seem like a lot of people thought it was game changing. Kendrick Lamar’s album, GKMC, is an album I think will become a classic album. It gave a lot of people faith in hip hop.

      • Rahul Sharma

        Yeezus is absolute GARBAGE. And I like this album much better than Drakes.

        • Kenny Lomas

          While you may hold this opinion, as do many others, the general consensus, at least from the industry and the media, is that Yeezus is remarkable achievement. He took a lot of risks making this album, and with risk taking you’re always going to leave people disappointed.

          • Adam

            I know this sounds biased, but I feel like anybody who can’t appreciate Yeezus, either don’t or don’t want to understand creativity or lateral thinking.

    • Chris M. McDade

      You should check out Ghostface Killah’s new album, 12 Reasons To Die.

      • YungKizz

        i forgot he came wid dat album imma right now

        • Chris M. McDade

          Let me know what you think!

          • YungKizz


  • Str33tJustus

    Killmatic, Born Sinner & Knock Madness all ALBUM OF THE YEAR Contenders!

  • Taskforce Taylor

    about time you guys get it right on a album review!

  • NativeKing


  • yaaaabud

    hopsin is a fucking faggot who calls out kanye kanye is a pure genius hop is one of the best lyricist ive ever heard buti also want to beat his ass he wishes he was eminem and he also dissed kendrick k dot would eat hop for breakfast lyrics arent everything this is music and hops hooks are corny and his beats are garbage he was on thats so raven and now he wants people to think hes hard fuck hop if this is an xll than mmlp2 was an xxl

    • Kenny Lomas

      He dissed Kanye because he found God, and Kanye made ‘I am a God,’ only reason. And he didn’t really diss Kendrick, it was a backhanded compliment really. All he said was Kendrick raised the bar but his level is already higher.

    • YungKizz

      ef kanye hes wack

    • checkdurp

      kanye is HORRIBLE

    • Nik Per

      lmao, you know who else dissed Kendrick? The entire music industry, Kanye a genius? LOL from the guy who wrote “But I can’t complain what the accident did to my left eye, ‘Cos look what an accident did to Left Eye” the guy is wack

  • The Truth

    “you’ll get Kilt like a skirt from Scotland”
    “You’ll Get Capped in Amercia like Marvel Comics”

    - Two of many ridiculously funny and clever punchlines that had me like… Oh Shit Wait.. play that shit back.

    Lyrics i would have given it a XXL… if you like bars look no further. Hopsin and his crew went in on this album.

  • Rick

    Really, this high? Average beats, garbage hooks, Hopsin’s incessant need to whine & also his feel that he’s better than every one else. 1.5/5.

  • MarkVader┌П┐(◣_◢)┌П┐

    i hope he doesn’t retire from music

  • Chris M. McDade

    Wow! The hooks and production were weak. Poorly chosen words made it hard to sympathize as well. I would rate it below average. His flow is on point though.

  • P

    Beats: M
    Lyrics: L
    Originality: S

    Overall: M

    Just cause you can rap doesn’t mean you can make a good song

  • yabishhh

    hopsin is sshook like dolly p titties

  • yabishhh

    hopsin should be battling for crack money get off that indie grind bro at least you get production quality when your signed to a major label this is music braa go sign to dre then youll sound good

  • cmack510

    album is coo, he needs to elevate a lot more, from production to the hooks, the lyrics were on point as usual hop is very talented but for his next project he needs to step away from the fruity loops for while an work with some producers

  • Mr2good4you

    it’s album it’s hot poops.

  • http://mikevo.wordpress.com/ Mike Van Orden

    It was meh. Not an XL by any stretch, a lot sounds the same. Good lyricism or flow doesn’t make up for repetitive horrorcore beats

  • Adam

    Hopsin has a lot of potential.
    His messages and delivery are fresh, but if he wants to break through mainstream without any big labels he needs to collaborate with other producers.

    His production level has improved and it’s industry-standard, but it’s crazy how dated his style is. Not that he needs to get on trap beats, but at least get away from the B-grade Scott Storch/Dr. Dre beats that Eminem passed down from 2004.