Welcome to this week’s post of Understanding the Rhymes. Social media has opened the door for many rappers to become popular. In particular is Hopsin, an up and coming rapper that became successful in a completely different way than the norm. One pattern that rappers consistently use is the long process of releasing a studio-produced album followed by a nation-wide or even international tour. This process is successful when already popular, but the incentive to buy an album from an unknown name is often low and with no album sales it is hard to put together an international tour.
The consistent pattern for “underground” rappers trying to obtain mainstream audiences is releasing a free mixtape. This is like an album but often self-produced, taking less time to develop. After a mixtape release, it is common for a small, regional tour. Instead of building up for an album and huge tour, mixtapes are released more often and are followed by reoccurring, smaller tours in order to gain more fans and reach new audiences. Hopsin is an exception. After trying both albums and mixtapes, he was not becoming successful on the level he wanted. Not wanting to give up, Hopsin turned to an alternate method. The future star began to release new music via YouTube. He released a song titled “The Ill Mind of Hopsin,” which was loved by viewers. Trying to build from this success, he started a series of these songs releasing “The Ill Mind of Hopsin 2.” After even more popularity he released a 3rd and 4th installment along with other various music videos not in the series mixed in between releases. Finally, Hopsin was building a strong fan-base. With each release he gained more and more YouTube views. Without even needing an album or mixtape, Hopsin could begin to tour with only his YouTube hits on his set-list. The release of the newest installment, “The Ill Mind of Hopsin 5” was huge. Currently it has been available on YouTube for just over 3 months and has north of 20 million views.The lyrics are extremely powerful and the link to the song is located below, followed by the written lyrics. Due to its length, only his first section will be analyzed on this week’s post. If anyone would like to read a full analysis or another specific section, post so in the comments.
*Warning- Explicit lyrics*
Man I hate rap, but if the shoe fits wear it.
I’ve become a freak of nature all the kids stare at.
Who walk around bumping RAW with the shit blaring, saying fuck school and dropping out like a miscarriage.
I’m embarrassed, and I’m ashamed I’ve played a part in this devilish game making your common sense perish.
But I ain’t taking the full blame cause most of you chumps running around here ain’t never had strict parents.
All of your brain cells rotting from weed.
You feeling like if you ain’t got it your life’s not as complete.
You having sex with every motherfucking\’ body you see.
With a past so dark, that Satan’d jump out of his seat.
But still you out in these streets, thinking you hot as can be.
Without the knowledge to lead, so you just follow the sheep.
Making sure your lame swag is all polished and clean.
While your favorite rappers like, yeah he got it from me.
You’ve been brainwashed by a fake life that you’re used to livin.’
When I say the word fun, what do you envision?
Probably drinking and smoking out with your crew and chilling with clueless women you try and bang, bumping new edition.
Is that all you think life really is?
Well if so, then you’re a fucking idiot.
I honestly feel like grabbing your head and hitting it.
Matter fact, you don’t even deserve a brain, GIMME IT.
Do you even have any goals?
Aside from bagging these hoes.
And packing a bowl.
Well let me guess, NO.
You’re only in school because your parents make you go.
When all you do is play beer pong and hang out with your bros.
Yo, society’s got you living for a whack cause.
You’re a fucking adult with no skills at all.
You don’t read any books or play ball.
You don’t draw, you literally do nothing at all.
Still you fiend for the glamorous fruits you don’t have, cause you idolize rappers that do.
And all they say is, ‘I got money and it’s stacked to the roof’.
And now you think that it’s gon’ magically just happen to you? How?
Your lazy ass don’t commit to labor.
You pick something up, try it out, and put it down two-minutes later.
Then you complain about your life cause it ain’t getting catered.
Now whoever tries to call you on your bullshit’s a hater.
You want to succeed you have to try.
Or one day you’ll get older and regret it all cause you can’t provide.
Your friends are low-life’s don’t act surprised.
Look, just cut the bad fruit off of the tree, make the sacrifice.
Hopsin uses this verse to emotionally vent out his problems with our society, focusing mostly on young-adult males. He begins essentially by calling them imposters. Hopsin thinks the majority of males think it is cool to be rebellious and drop out of school. Feeling embarrassed to be associated with these individuals who lack common-sense, Hopsin goes on to blame the parenting for not being strict enough.
Continuing to verbally pick these males apart, he goes on to say they follow exactly what their own rap idols rap about. These lyrics contain the common topics of drugs and sex, making Hopsin believe that all these males are obsessed with sex and drugs and think they are awesome for doing it. In reality, Hopsin believes they are followers, doing exactly what these “fake” rappers say. Providing a wake-up call to these individuals, the mind behind “Ill Mind” tells them that in order to succeed they are going to have to try. Instead of being lazy and not committing to anything, these young-adult males need to think about their future. If not, they will not only have trouble providing for themselves, but have no shot at supporting a family.
Hopsin not only has great lyrical depth, he has a great attitude of never giving up. When things did not go as planned, Hopsin took advantage of social media, YouTube in particular, to become successful. Now, Hopsin is touring internationally and has a strong enough fan base to release a studio-produced album. Be on the lookout for Knock Madness coming in 2013. Thanks for reading this week’s post. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section along with any requests.