- Words By | Leon Sullen, Jr.
- Pen Name | K1ng Eljay
- Twitter | @K1ngEljay
- “Old Friend”
- “Who’s There” (feat. Jarren Benton and Dizzy Wright)
- “Hop Is Back”
So… Hopsin is going through some things.
That’s evident in almost every aspect of his career. Up until this point, however, it’s come out as random emotional rants on Twitter, or huge lapses in music that aren’t explained. It’s something that anyone with responsibility can relate to in some way, but the way one handles it can say a lot about their personality and the way they react under that constant pressure. For some people, Hopsin’s actions are a bit of a mirror; to others, an overreaction. And it’s never quite been explained why he’s that was except in passing.
Well, until now. Listening to Knock Madness once takes you on an uneven roller-coaster ride of emotions that becomes more apparent the more you listen, and one play can connect the dots as to what inspires Hopsin to do and say what he does. In the midst of it, there’s flashes of the old and new, thoughtful (read: scorned) Hop that makes this an… interesting play.
There’s no denying that Hopsin is talented. Although on certain internet circles he stays a topic of slanderous discussion (but so does Eminem, and he still sells well), his ability to make songs is plain to see. And when he focuses on it, his words hit incredibly hard. The introduction (“The Fiends Are Knocking“) flips into a narrative that simultaneously debunks every excuse and reason people have levied at him for being late with the project, but in an intensified way. “Hop Is Back” is typical fanfare from him, and “Who’s There” features Funk Volume flag runners Jarren Benton and Dizzy Wright spitting inspired verses that possibly reinforce the fact that maybe Hop should’ve rapped first….
But after that, a few issues surface. Hopsin has always been the one to put emotions into a project, but there’s so many of those songs here it comes off as him complaining. It’s unfortunate, because most of the songs are clever in their design. “Gimme That Money” is a comical take on being mooched off of by ‘friends’, while “Good Guys Get Left Behind” is a ‘love’ song dedicated to the few girls that he fell for. But then it keeps going as he begins to touch on the same aspects over and over. “I Need Help” has him announcing how low he feels because of life, and how he plans on walking away from the music because of it…
And so does “Caught In The Rain“…
And part of “What’s My Purpose“…
In most projects, there’s a balance of these elements to give listeners that complete feeling. Too much of one things can shift (or short) the experience, and after 18 tracks of that, I’m not exactly stuck thinking how great of a rapper Hopsin is (although he is; let me be clear on that). I’m instead hoping that one day he gets that peace he’s been searching for, because there are issues that go deeper than music that seeps to the top when he rhymes. A perfect example of this is “Old Friend” (aka Ill Mind Of Hopsin 6), which he shows a bit of anger about his best friend being turned out by drugs. (This also serves as one of those “connect-the-dot” moments that can make the listener realize maybe part of his anger comes from his friend not being the same.)
Again, it’s something that some of us (most of us) can relate to, even if it’s not on that same level. As far as the project, however, his confused state of mind right now reflects in the final product for Knock Madness. If it had eliminated some of those reoccurring themes, it would’ve made this experience more potent. Instead of being the coming out party for the FV team like we had expected, it’s more of a brain dump for Hopsin to vent about his issues. For some, that’s perfectly fine. For those outside of his core fans? There won’t be much to hold them here.
It’s sad, because Knock Madness could’ve been one of the better projects to drop this year. All writing aside, I hope Hopsin finds that aforementioned peace he’s desperately wanting. More people can relate to that sentiment than he realizes.
The Quick Recap
- + Lyrical ability is still top-notch, and the Tech N9ne features still brings out the best in him
- - Several songs harp on the same ‘I’m tired of everything’ theme, and it comes off as complaining
- + Incredible features from the Funk Volume team and others
- + Great song concepts throughout…
- - …but drowned out by the length of the project, unfortunately.
The REDEFINED Rating
3 out of 5