Hopsin hits a homerun with 'Ill Mind 8'

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The last few weeks have been pretty darn good for hip-hop fans: Kendrick Lamar finally put out those “Untitled” songs I’ve been waiting ages for, 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne dropped a joint album and Kanye West announced a new album to be released in the summer in addition to a new version of the “Life of Pablo.” But there’s something else that flew under the hip-hop radar: Hopsin’s diss track “Ill Mind of Hopsin 8,” which was released March 8. And that’s really too bad, because the song is straight fire.

“Ill Mind 8” is the newest song in Hopsin’s annual “Ill Mind of Hopsin” series. Each song is a personal statement from the rapper and touches on issues ranging from his distaste of drugs to his transition to atheism. The re-occurring problem with the series is that it comes off as preachy — each song has a strict moral aimed at addressing a perceived problem in hip-hop culture — and it’s just kind of off-putting to be reprimanded by someone who has sat just below the threshold of mainstream rap for years now. Luckily, in “Ill Mind 8” Hopsin finally decided to ditch the preaching (and his creepy white contacts) in favor of a tried and true turn-up/diss track that is sure to net a broad audience.

The track focuses on Hopsin’s strife with his former manager Damien Ritter. The pair co-founded their label Funk Volume back in 2009, but, according to the song, quite a lot has gone wrong in the six years since. Ritter decided to prioritize branding for the label and started a bizarre health website called Funk Volume Fitness (which, as of March 14, has been taken down) rather than putting a sufficient amount of effort into managing his signees their finances. Ritter also signed a distribution deal with Warner that failed to generate the audience that Hopsin and the Funk Volume crew wanted as well as supposedly blew a lot of the group’s earnings at casinos.

In the end, Hopsin left Funk Volume in early January and dropped “Ill Mind 8” last week. It’s a diss track that blows away Drake’s “Back to Back.” Hopsin is quick- witted and spits fast rhymes in the song, chipping away at Ritter with accusation after accusation, only slowing down three minutes in to walk his audience through Ritter’s “fishy” motives as both his manager and accountant. And, honestly, this is the direction I had hoped Hopsin would go in ever since I heard “Ill Mind 5” in 2012 — it was on that track that he proved he had the lyrical skills and the production talent to make it big. As it turns out, the only thing holding him back was a fitness-obsessed manager; it becomes clear on “Ill Mind 8” that nothing is repressing Hopsin’s talent any longer, and now it’s finally his turn to make some huge waves in the hip-hop scene.

Benj Salkind is an undeclared sophomore. He can be reached at salkind@oxy.edu or on Twitter at @benjsalkind.