Hopsin Show Review @ Mojoes – Joliet, IL

Hopsin 7/27/2014

Review by Dan Scheiman

Beginning the show with some impressive opening acts such as Tmas, Trilogy Mafia, Jarren Benton, and Dizzy Wright, Mojoe’s had a relentless group of MCs on their hands. I’ve seen a handful of Hip Hop shows that have blown my mind in many ways, but this particular one gave me a sense of clarity and aggression that no other has. When I say clarity, I mean there was a distinct feeling of understanding and communication with not just Hopsin, the “ill mind” himself, but the opening acts and even the crowd as well. The aggressive part involved just how serious and sincere the tone of his voice is, and the depth of his poetry. There was a bonding sensation throughout the venue, probably because of how unique and profound Hopsin’s message was. Anyone who is connected to this man and his words should be able to find an unspoken understanding between themselves and anyone else who was at his show.

Hopsin’s first real discussion with the fans was about how he’s been losing his mind and how people have been telling him he needs help. Starting one of his most popular tracks “I Need Help”, the crowd went completely nuts when DJ Hoppa dropped the bass. I immediately was taken aback, not only by his stage presence but his speed as well. This man, similar to a lot of other lyrical percussionists, has a powerful message to portray to his listeners. Some hide it behind just a portrayal of speed and skill, but he makes his words crystal clear and very hard to miss while having no issue showing his vocal chops. From topics as heavy as losing close friends to drug addiction, philosophical meltdowns, searching for purpose and meaning, and connection to God, this MC doesn’t just want you to bob your head, he demands you listen.

While having a lot involved and not exactly discussing any light topics regularly, you would think Hopsin wouldn’t want to let loose. This was simply not true, as half way through the show, he requested fans to meet him on stage. He managed to get almost 20 fans to join him there for a dance party. While it only lasted for one song, he was laughing and taking pictures with the fans as everyone was dispersing back into the crowd. He may come off as aggressive, and damn near abusive at times lyrically, but I could tell after seeing him live that his intentions are entirely for the best. At one point he stopped the music and  was screaming lyrics into a young fans face as if he was looking for a fight, then shortly after after laughing about it and apologizing to him saying “we don’t usually go that hard”. It is clear that Hopsin is very passionate about what he does, but he most certainly means well.

In support of local and struggling artists, near the end of the show, Hopsin invited 3 MCs on stage.  He hand-picked a few guys, gave them a mic, and asked them to spit one verse on their own. This could’ve ended poorly, but from the energy Hopsin was giving off and the tight beats by DJ Hoppa, each MC cut up an improv verse that not only Hopsin seemed to love, but the fans as well.

Ending the show asking if anyone wanted to journey into his ill mind brought a roar out of the fans that is misunderstood until everyone has taken said journey. An explanation of this man’s words is nearly impossible but I suggest looking into him. The insight that Hopsin has to offer is on a near identical wavelength to Aesop Rock and Saul Williams. He is also able to put words together with a similar speed and articulation as Busdriver, while still having a revolutionary overtone not unlike an Immortal technique or an El-P. This man deserves to be heard. If you get a chance to see him, he will convince you of that himself.

Nicci Allen is a photography/graphic design major who has been an active and involved member of the music scene since she was old enough to be let in local shows. Whether it was bartending concerts at The Pearl Room, being an involved member of the Girls of Metal, booking and promoting local shows and benefits, attending festivals and supporting artists of every genre, or DJing and writing her own music, Nicci has always made music a necessity in her daily life.