Hopsin, Funk Volume Crew to revisit West Michigan fans

Courtesy / JenReightleyPhoto.com
Hopsin will be performing at The Pyramid Scheme in downtown Grand Rapids on February ninth.

Courtesy / JenReightleyPhoto.com Hopsin will be performing at The Pyramid Scheme in downtown Grand Rapids on February ninth.

With all of the success both Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar have experienced as of late, it would seem pointless for another rapper to even try to attack their credibility as artists. But for West Coast MC Marcus Hopson – better known by his stage name, Hopsin – this is the exact methodology that has gained him the vehement cult following he holds today.

Having experienced an overwhelmingly successful visit to Grand Rapids just over a year ago, it comes as no surprise that Hopsin is making an appearance during his Knock Madness Tour, which is set to visit The Intersection on Feb. 9. The show in West Michigan is one of over 50 stops that the artist is scheduled to make before his nationwide tour wraps up in March.

As a featured artist on the 2012 edition of XXL’s annual Top 10 Freshmen list, which highlights promising up-and-comers in hip hop, Hopsin has been most recognized for his audacious subject matter and brash delivery. And while this recognition is certainly well deserved, there is something to be noted about the origins of the artist’s overarching theme.

Hopsin has stated that he drew his initial inspiration to produce music from listening to Eminem, which is something that becomes clear upon examining his work. In terms of flow, delivery and rhyme scheme, Hopsin quite clearly emulates the style of Eminem, but in an energetic and animated manner that actually does it justice. And according to his tour mate, DJ Hoppa, these traits are part of what makes Hopsin’s performances worthwhile.

“A Hopsin live show is raw energy,” said Hoppa. “You will scream, throw your hands up, jump up and down and sweat your ass off.”

One component of the live shows that DJ Hoppa is referring to is Hopsin’s atypical form of crowd surfing, in which he walks on top of the crowd while performing, relying solely on the ankle-gripping hands of fans to support his body. According to Grand Rapids Community College student John Iseler, who attended Hopsin’s most recent Grand Rapids performance, it’s this type of intimate interaction with the crowd that sets his shows apart.

“Hopsin actually came down from the stage and met with fans,” said Iseler. “He actually met me face-to-face. It was like VIP for everyone. I’ve seen other rappers perform, like Bone Thugs and Killer Mike, and most artists don’t do that.”

Iseler explained that at last year’s performance, Hopsin further involved the fans by holding rap battles on stage, adhering to the classic battle format by allowing the crowd’s noise level to determine the victors.

Since dropping his debut album, Gazing at the Moonlight, in 2009, Hopsin has released two additional LPs, with Knock Madness being the most recent. DJ Hoppa explained that while the current tour’s performances feature mostly new material, a few fan favorites from older albums are typically mixed into each set. Though the overall listening experience of Knock Madness is largely reminiscent of Hopsin’s previous release, Raw, the new album does feature a variety of tracks ranging in both mood and subject matter, providing him with a versatile pallet from which to construct a set list for live performances.

And while it’s safe to say that the winter weather has certainly put a damper on people’s extracurricular activities, DJ Hoppa claimed that it hadn’t yet stopped fans from experiencing the Knock Madness Tour.

“The shows have been great,” said Hoppa. “Despite the snowy weather the fans have still come out to rock with us!”

*For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit The Intersection website at http://sectionlive.com/events/hopsin-2/. Tickets are $20.