Who Is Hopsin? The Child Actor Who Grew Into a Rapper and Entrepreneur

Updated on April 2, 2018
Sharp Points profile image

Sharp Points is a music aficionado with years of experience listening to, and writing about, rap music.

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This article will take you through the career of rapper Hopsin. Here you'll find out about Hopsin's personal life and disputes, the making of each of his albums, and the story behind his rise to fame. To help you navigate this article, I've included a table of contents to guide your reading.

This article will cover these aspects of Hopsin's career:

  1. A Brief Biography
  2. Hopsin's Evolution as a Rapper
  3. Hopsin's History and Dispute With Ruthless Records
  4. Each of Hopsin's Records

1. A Brief Biography of Marcus Jamal Hopson, A.K.A. Hopsin

Born on July 18, 1985, Marcus Jamal Hopson grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County. Stories from his upbringing can be heard in his lyrics.

Here are a few facts about the man known as "Hopsin."

  • He is a songwriter, producer, director, and, at one point, an actor.
  • Hop explains on Tech N9ne's hit "Am I a Psycho?" that he fell on his head and severed his brain as a toddler. Marcus was in Special Education classes throughout most of school.
  • Eventually, sick of the system he could not find his place in, Hop dropped out of school to pursue a career in entertainment.
  • Hopsin states that his two most influential inspirations are Michael Jackson & Eminem.

2. Hopsin's Evolution as a Rapper

Hopsin was an actor as a youth, long before he was recognized as a talented Hip Hop artist. He was a paid extra/actor on a variety of television shows and a movie or two. Hop even made an appearance as an extra in a pornography. He was never paid for the work, as he hopped the fence and fled the scene, describing the environment as "satanic".

Apparently, while Marcus stayed in his parents' basement he rarely left for an entire year. Studying his favorite rappers technique, style, sound, and other aspects of being an MC. He watched and noted different ways artists came up.

Take a year of practice and studying, throw in a pair of white contacts from Hot Topic, and you've got the new and improved Hopsin.

Why white contacts? Well, in the original "Ill Mind of Hopsin" Hopsin explains that in a simple way saying, "[I wear] White contacts so you mother f**kers remember me!"

Any possible way to stand out from the crowd can give an aspiring artist the edge over his competition.

"Back when I was on malcom in the middle haha. Before the rappin popped off" - Marcus Hopsin
"Back when I was on malcom in the middle haha. Before the rappin popped off" - Marcus Hopsin | Source

3. Hopsin's History and Dispute With Ruthless Records

Hop's first record deal was one he signed with Ruthless Records, blatantly ignoring advice from people around his neighborhood who knew better. They all tried to explain to him that it was sketchy business dealing with CEO, Tamica Wright, asking "You remember what she did to Bone Thugz?"

People remember the empire of Eazy-E and feel nostalgia, but Hopsin and Strange Music artist Stevie Stone will both tell you, it is not the same Ruthless Records. Either way, you can't blame a starving artist for hearing what he wants to hear when it comes to a real label making an offer.

Hopsin wants to bring attention to the worthless ruin that is now Ruthless Records.You can hear this in many of his songs, which call out Tamica Wright's hypocrisy with epically harsh lyrics.

4. Hopsin's Records, Singles, and Cyphers: From "Funk Volume" to "Knock Madness"

Hopsin is known for being one of the most dynamic rappers out there. His songs range in complexity and production style. He's been lucky enough to work with several other dynamic rappers and producers. Below is information about each of his records, singles, and cyphers. His beefs are intense. His critiques are powerful. His message is worth hearing. Do yourself a favor and listen to all of these great songs and records.

Funk Volume

After being shelved for two years, Hopsin found a way out of his contract and came up with the idea for a label. After discovering that his high school friend and label mate SwizZz was experiencing frustrations of his own, and SwizZz's older brother was laid off from a corporate position, the three teamed up.

The recession of 2008 ended up benefiting the three motivated young men. They started to create their own independent record label. They called it Funk Volume. Being the owner of half of the label, the rest of it owned by his friend Dame Ritter, SwizZz's older brother, Hopson had more creative freedom. Finally, Hopsin would find significant success after years of hard work.

Hopsin - Raw [2010]
Hopsin - Raw [2010] | Source

RAW

Hopsin's second studio album, and the first released with the help of his newly founded label, Funk Volume. Raw is a truly incredible album. At this point, he was finally beginning to build a solid foundation of fans, and starting to perfect his style.

Making $12,000 in a day, the release of Raw was a huge shock to Hopsin, who had spent so long being broke. Finally, Hopson had the money to create the music he wanted to, without having to depend on any shady labels getting in the way of his creative process.

Recommended Listening: "Nocturnal Rainbows"

"Nocturnal Rainbows is the first single Hopsin released from his Raw LP. The track finds Hopsin interrogating the listener. He urges us to take a look at ourselves in the mirror, ask ourselves "Am I wasting my life away?" He comments on the ills of society, and sincerely questions many of our decisions to use alcohol or drugs when our brain is naturally "A f**king powerhouse" according to Hop.

An official music video was never created for "Nocturnal Rainbows" due to the tight budget he was on at the time. Hop also mentions that he did not craft any visuals to go with the track because he could not afford the video he imagined. Unfortunately for the fans, his visions were too expensive. He was far too broke at the time.

Essential lyrics:

How do we know if God exists?
How do we know what's positive?
Are you the definition of an angel or the opposite?
If you lost your wallet and I found it, I would not commit
To stealing it, but if the tables turned then you would pocket it

"Kill Her"

A sinister beat begins as Hop immediately releases the built up anger he has towards Tomica Wright, owner of Ruthless Records. His rapid-fire delivery and passion filled aggression makes for a song that will get your blood pumping.

Essential lyrics:

Ruthless!
Deceitful lies, listen up, you don’t want beef to rise
I really wanna murder [Tomica Wright]

"Sag My Pants"

Nothing more than a verbal assault on Ruthless Records along with the rest of the music industry. Hopsin brutally called out specific rappers such as Drake, Lil' Wayne, Soulja Boy, and even Lupe Fiasco for being a so-called "skateboard rapper."

According to Hop, Lupe isn't a real skater, claiming Lupe "Can't even Ollie." In an interview, Hopsin named Yelawolf as the only other real skateboard rapper.

Essential lyrics:

Why you buggin' me like something was wrong
Just take a puff of the bong
And let me leave your mind corrupt from this song
See you can't stop me cause I'm a brainwash teens
And create false dreams cause it pays off clean
I'm just an idiotic ironic symbolic illuminatic product

"The Ill Mind Of Hopsin" 1-7

The "Ill Mind Of Hopsin" series is a collection of songs that have been released annually, typically on Marcus' birthday.

While not an actual LP, EP, or even mix-tape, these videos were the absolute most significant factor in Hopsin's rapid rise to internet stardom, the fourth and fifth installment specifically propelling his career the furthest.

"The Ill Mind of Hopsin"

The first home madevideo was basically a raw rap song with no real topic. He spits out fire which calling out the simplest of mainstream rappers. It mixes comedy, disses, and clever word play.

"The Ill Mind of Hopsin 2"

The second installment was not a rap song, but a tutorial by Hopsin. He explains how to make a mobile tripod using a stolen shopping cart. Crafty, Marcus.

Essential Lyrics:

Causing more than war slaying rappers, commercial or horrorcore
So hold your head cause I'm a torture yours, leave them open sores
I promise you it'll be more than hard to ignore the gore
Hip hop's dead, and I'm the lucky savior

"The Ill Mind of Hopsin 3"

In the third episode of the series, you can witness the growth and development of Marcus as a lyricist. On this track he expresses his frustrations from putting in so much work and not being shown any recognition. This rap is filled with lyrical madness and more clever lines that we already had expected from him.

Essential Lyrics:

And I'm ashamed I 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

"The Ill Mind of Hopsin 4"

The video that brought Hopsin into the spotlight, actually a super clever move by him, not just coincidence. You see, at the time the record titled "Yonkers" by Tyler the Creator was becoming very famous and was gaining Youtube views at an exceptional rate.

In the Ill Mind 4, Hopsin disses Tyler. People searching for Yonkers were then suggested to view a Tyler diss by a nearly unknown rapper. So he took some of the massive traffic that Tyler was receiving, and funneled it into his own pool of viewers.

Essential lyrics:

Hop, you got me crying
'Cause you said I could call you while you out on tour
Shit and I be trying, I even text you, but you not replying
So when your new shit finally drop, that's one album I will not be buying
What, You're too Hollywood? And you don't even have two minutes?
Ever since you got your buzz, you don't know how bad you tripping

"The Ill Mind of Hopsin 5"

Marcus' most popular song to date, now sporting nearly 48 million views on Youtube. The song was extremely popular, which is unusual only because the message of the song is the opposite of the message expressed through most popular rap songs these days.

Hopsin takes aim at three different demographics (Young suburban males, young women, and young black men.) He exposes them for the frauds that they are and offers advice at the end of each verse. This song is incredible and continues to inspire people to better their lives. This is still the most significant song in his entire catalog.

Essential lyrics:

My existence on this planet's for you, I ain't only here to benefit me
Yo, we need to make a change while there's still time
It is hard, and sometimes I struggle trying to reveal mine
I can guide you if you feel blind
I just need you to be willing to journey into my ill mind

"The Ill Mind of Hopsin 6"

Episode number six has Hop himself admitting that the sixth installment of the "Ill Mind" series was a song was not originally intended to be part of the series. He most likely didn't have time or inspiration to write a new song for the series, so he replaced it with a track from his album. The problem was that song didn't really match the other four entries, not in any way at all.

This was the first and only "Ill Mind" record with a chorus, usually being a lengthy verse, or regular verses with no hook in between them.

Essential lyrics:

You never did know which road to go
It’s like you rode the boat and sailed away and hoped to hit the golden coast
But you sank like the Titanic
The incident, it left your life damaged, and that’s when I panicked
You thought you had it locked, well you ain’t on the right planet
If you're trying to live your life right, plan it
It’s like your mind vanished, you don’t even know

"The Ill Mind Of Hopsin 7"

Part Seven is the most recent installment and maybe even his final. Hopsin finds himself questioning his faith, the various religions of the world, and where he stands with his own beliefs.

Seven sound like much more of a piece that fits into the "Ill Mind" collection, but since he reached such a phenomenal peak with Five, I don't see him beating that one.

Essential lyrics:

Life is a tour, I sit and ride along
Taking some notes and then I write the song
I'm staring down the road my life has gone
Is this where I belong?
Is it wrong to not believe in right and wrong?

Which "Ill Mind" Video Is Your Favorite?

See results

Knock Madness

The third studio album by Hopsin was released on November 24, 2013 by Funk Volume. It was highly anticipated and was well received by both fans and critics.

"Hop is Back"

The first single released to promote Knock Madness. Hopsin takes shots at both Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West.

He later stated that he only spoke on Kendrick because of his recent controversy with the "Control" verse, and that he dissed Kanye because he simply thought Yeezus was garbage.

Essential lyrics:

Begging me to quit rap, but I'm just not ready to let it loose for her
Am I Hopsin or am I Lucifer?
I didn't blow 'till I started talking a gang of shit, tell me who you prefer
Nigga, you ain't ill in the booth
I'd die and do my next show as a hologram and still be realer than you

"I Need Help"

Hop frantically vents his struggle dealing with his new found fame. He is confused about the direction of his life, who he is, what he believes, and so much more.

Are you going to help him or are you just going to sit there?!

Essential lyrics:

Hopsin is doomed, locked in a room
Spaced out like a little pop in the shrooms
God lit a fuse, now I gotta make a decision
And I don't really know Hopsin to choose
I'm a big wreck, did you not get the news?

Source

Best Hopsin Cyphers & Freestyles "Tim Westwood Crib Session 1"

Another incredible Funk Volume Cypher, this time minus SwizZz.

"Tim Westwood Crib Session 2"

Hop travles back to London to meet up with Tim Westwood and deliver another fire verse. This time rolling solo, he spits a dope verse over A$AP Ferg's "Shabba".

"TeamBackPack / Funk Volume Cypher 3"

Oh my, this is one of the sickest cypher videos I have ever seen. Seriously, all four of these talented MC's destroy the smooth Primo instrumental.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Logan 

        5 months ago

        This needs updating was really interesting want to know the rest

      • Sharp Points profile imageAUTHOR

        Sharp Points 

        3 years ago from Big Bear Lake, California

        http://sharppoints.hubpages.com/hub/Hopsin-Left-Th...

        Freshly Published ^

        Thank you for the support appreciate it

      • Cassidy Kakin profile image

        Cassidy Michael Kakin 

        3 years ago from San Jose, California

        Sadly this now needs an addendum, as the man just retied. Great post though, highlights some of his best stuff and is a great jumping off point for new listeners.

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