California based rapper Hopsin came through town last night, bringing the Cali vibes to town on an otherwise quiet Sunday.  The result here in Montréal was a show that catered to a brand new generation of young people getting a taste of the sheer power behind legit rap music.

So who is Hopsin? Upon my first look into this mysterious artist out of California I was immediately taken by his image. Classically fashioned with street-wear threads, with a piercing gaze that feels like he’s looking through your soul. Obviously due to white-out contacts worn by the artist, almost all of the time.

HOPSIN wmrk 5I took a dive into some of the previously released music over the years, pleasantly surprised to find a few songs I recognized from their viral impact.  In general, I found the music to be worthy of the gained fan base, but nothing too remarkable or game changing. The production sounded similar to many releases in past years, but the rap itself is where the money is for Hopsin. Very thought out, very original and likely important for a new generation to hear.

Despite not being too into the music he’s recorded, Hopsin delivered a set on stage that caught me off guard. Here is where he clearly flourishes. Armed simply with a DJ backing his tracks, no opening act, no shared stage time. Hopsin started his show around 9:30 to a swell of screaming fans thirsty for some originality… and that originality is exactly what he delivered.

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Trap productions in hip-hop are all the rage right now. It’s not going away, and everyone loves it. As I mentioned on a production level I was underwhelmed. Live on stage, these beats supported Hopsin’s demeanor perfectly. Allowing the lyricist to deliver precise vocals with the right amount of aggression and punch. Sounding, to me, much better than anything he has recorded.

The set ran over an hour long, and by the end the venue was hot, sweaty and full of attendee’s who resembled some sort of musical sedation. Captivated by the strong persona of Hopsin on stage in an intimate setting. Hopsin is an advocate for and well know “straight-edge” performer. Not all of his fans live the same lifestyle, a fact made clear by the crowd last night. But those in attendance were vastly different from the crowds I’ve seen at other hip-hop events, with a different mind-set all together.

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Hopsin’s fans are nothing if not passionate and awake. I spoke with a handful of them, wondering what it was about the rapper that brought them out to show. The answer was always the same tune.

“He’s real and his lyrical content is real. He raps about things that matter.”

Inspiring thoughts from a younger crowd at an all ages rap show.

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Where lot’s of rap on the mainstream level is centered towards twerking, big booty’s, drugs and/or violence, etc. Hospin stands apart from these subjects and his fans appreciate him more for it. If there is one thing I took from this show home with me, it is likely a new found faith in the younger generation of music lover’s and their capacity to recognize an artist for more than his image or viral factors of artistry.

For this, I tip my hat to you, Hopsin. You’re doing it like not many could or would try to in this new age of music.

Shout out to the I Love Neon team for having BandMark in the house! Be sure to check out their upcoming events for more of their high caliber shows.HOPSIN wmrk 2


Photo’s by Alexandre Osi Dénommée