The undisputed king of underground hip-hop is a man by the name of Marcus Hopson, better known as Hopsin. Many truly believe he is the best rapper out. As an independent artist with his label My Funk Volume, Hopsin has been selling out world tours for years, signed successful artists, and amassed a huge following. I got the chance to chat with Hopsin to ask him a bit about his opinions on hip-hop today, his favorite artists, about staying independent, and a few other things. His answers were illuminating, and should set you up for what his new album, Pound Syndrome, might touch on.
Hopsin has never been one to hold back critiques of other artists, with a reputation for someone who constantly disses others. Some of his most infamous attacks have been on Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Soulja Boy, and Tyler the Creator. When asked about it though, he said it was just something he does for fun, and that he really does have love for everyone. He described it analogous to MAD TV-type skits, and that it is as if a comedian like Jim Carrey were a rapper. It is why he says he’s stayed away from making comments about people’s families, or about violence towards them because there’s no malice there.
Curious about what his thoughts were on hip-hop today, he told me that it has changed a lot, in some ways good and in other ways bad. The good is in quality of production and the engineering behind the music. It has made all of the music sound much better. But as far as content, he said:
Most music is swaggy, club, get drunk, and smoke weed bullshit that we’ve heard a billion times. And Auto-Tune doesn’t make it any better. It’s just in a state where subject matter isn’t important anymore. Overall, it’s all complete bullshit.
While many would agree with Hopsin’s claims about the content of music, I asked what he thought it would take for that to change. He believes the only way will be for the powerful artists of this generation — and the last — to come out and prove content matters through their music. He believes hip-hop has been an ignorant genre of music from the start — bragging about money, women, and drugs — but there was more of a balance before. Now that the genre is more popular, all of the trash that existed has been amplified by more radio play.
His biggest issue with the industry is that the quality of hip-hop has gone down so much that it does not seem like something where skill is needed anymore. In particular,
In the past, when you heard rappers not everyone thought “I could do that” because you saw the skill it took. Now, when you hear what’s out you think you can do it too. It shouldn’t be that. I feel like it should be the same way a competitive sport is. If you ever watched Kobe playing basketball, you never sit and think, “I could easily do that.” You don’t want to watch a sport thinking it’s that easy unless you’re a professional. But rap…