Hopsin Wields an Introspective Pen on New Album ‘Pound Syndrome’
Many rappers can come across like they’re bulletproof humans. With all the braggadocios raps, alluring videos and behind-the-scenes footage of tours mixed with everyday rap life, some of our favorite rappers can seem immune to regular problems, thoughts and ideas. However, if you’ve been a follower of Hopsin over the past few years, then you know that the aforementioned doesn’t apply to the L.A. native. On his latest album Pound Syndrome, the inquisitive MC shows his vulnerability by questioning everything from Christianity, his direction in life and the rap industry, to name just a few.
After a failed record deal with Ruthless Records that fizzled out at the end of the 2000s, Hopsin took matters into his own hands by forming his Funk Volume label. Now, with his fourth studio album Pound Syndrome in the streets and on the 'net, Hopsin sticks to his personal commentary by touching on family issues, his own personal drama and even gets at his hip-hop contemporaries on this well-sequenced project.
The 14-track album commences with the rapper, producer and director aiming at commercial rappers and haters on both the infectious “The Pound (Intro)” and “Forever III.” Over hard knocking backdrops—Hopsin handles all the production and engineering on the album—matched with hypnotic flows and wittiness that’ll definitely hold attention, Hop sends a friendly reminder that despite his thin skin in certain situations, he’s an MC first.
The Funk Volume capo then dives into his personal issues, sticking to a first person narrative for much of the album. On the self-produced “No Hope,” the 2012 XXL Freshman discusses one of the many problems associated with large bank accounts as he barks at a leeching ex-girl and homeboy.
Along with being an MC that will satisfy most die-hard hip-hop fans, Hopsin proves that he’s just as deadly with his storytelling also. On “Fort Collins,” alongside fellow Funk Volume artist Dizzy Wright, Hopsin pens gripping verses and apologies to his Colorado fans for bouncing on them before a 2014 performance while on his ill-fated Knock Madness Tour. It makes one wonder how many rappers go through a period of being jaded with their day jobs and how much it ultimately affects their art.
On the latter half of Pound Syndrome, Hopsin waxes his inquisitive side. “Ill Mind of Hopsin 7” sees him lay out his intelligence, anger and emotions by admitting that he’s lost faith in Christianity. Lines like, "How you give me a book to read and expect me not to analyze it?” show that’s he’s definitely a thinker and one who doesn’t accept whatever is put in front of him. He continues the shrewd theme as he closes out the album with the thought-provoking “FIY.” Here, Hopsin tackles subjects like marketing, school, self-education and self-love with the intention of motivating listeners to think for themselves.
Overall, Pound Syndrome is an album that one can download and let ride non-stop from front to back. When Hopsin isn’t dropping 16s aimed at his fellow MCs, it seems that hip-hop is Hopsin’s conduit to release the heavy thoughts and multitudes of life’s ills from his third eye, a refreshing break from the more common ego trips that drive much of todays hip-hop. —Darryl Robertson