Review By John Gee:
I wish I could have treated this review like I would have liked to. A nice Saturday night, an aged bottle of cognac, a Cuban, and the Behringer Truth's on max ‘Funk'in Volume. Alas, it's Sunday afternoon and I am forced to revert to an old school review of riding around and bumping it in the whip. Then, I didn't even get to play it all the way through because I farted in my truck and it lingered. ‘Funk'in red beans ‘n' rice- Geez! But anyways, I have heard the album, and in its entirety. The journey of Hopsin's Raw has officially come to a close, and I am here to offer my thoughts. First off, I think it's time to remind some and make others aware of my connection with music. I have been an artist for a decade now! In rap years I think that makes me something like ‘85', so I am nearing retirement age I suppose. I have been producing for six years, and I have been my own engineer for 5 years. I have given a lot of criticism and reviews in my time, and I have seen the proof of my efforts in the growth of some artists. I feel like a proud Papa or Uncle with some of the artists I have helped. I listen to ALL kinds of music! In my eyes, good music is good music, and there is no substitute. Check my iPod! I have Gospel, I have Trace Adkins, I have Taylor Swift, Adam Lambert, Cage The Elephant, Smashing Pumpkins, Eminem, The Eagles, Pink, B. O. B., Asher Roth, Chris Brown, and I could keep going! I feel it's also important for the people reading this review to know that I honestly do NOT like ANY West Coast emcees. Mainstream, Indy, Underground- I really haven't heard of any that grab my attention on a consistent basis. I can't really put my finger on the reasons why but it is what it is. With all this being said, and got out of the way, I believe we can now move forward with this album review.
I'm going to be very brief on my track by track breakdown because the reviews will become very monotonous.
1: Hot 16's- I really felt a good mix of Tech N9ne and Eminem on this track. Verses were killed, the hook was perfect and different, making this worth listening to on your morning “Wake and Bake” if you need to be productive that day ha ha.
2: Sag My Pants- After listening to this whole album I feel like this track best represents Hopsin. Hot punchlines that tie back to great song ideas. For those wanting to know where this song ranks in my mind for the album. “Sag My Pants”- The third best song on the album!
3: You Are My Enemy- I really liked this song as a whole, but I wasn't too fond of the hook. I liked the singing, but I just didn't like the lyrics for it that much. The lyrics on the verses, typical Hopsin, they make people quit rapping.
4: Trampoline- I'm not from the West Coast. Is this the type of track that would bump in the clubs? I think this track has the potential to be mainstream, radio played, and loved by many listeners. Unfortunately, those listeners may never take the chance to find out that the rest of the album is better than this track.
5: I'm Not Introducing You- Okay, um, how do I say this…. My second favorite track on the album. I'm in love with this song, we made love, and were wed in eloping fashion in Biloxi last night. This song is a MUST LISTEN! I will say this though, it is really refreshing to see that Hopsin is different, and is not the typical emcee that talks about girls/threesomes/hotel parties.
6: I Can't Decide- I love story telling tracks. I think this was a well told story, but I just wasn't that impressed with the story. It wasn't made as interesting as I thought it could have been made.
7: I Am Raw- I was more interested in the storyline of this song. I liked this song as a whole, but I didn't particularly care for the hook or the feature. This is one of the weakest tracks on the album.
8: Nocturnal Rainbows- If you make rap music, if you make music, if you are alive… then you should…. LISTEN TO THIS, before you die! Best song on the album, very powerful, and full of substance. Love it!
9: How You Like Me Now- Once again I wasn't very fond of the feature. It's purely preference and opinioned but I don't care for Swizz's voice- sorry! On top of that, I don't think one person should be featured on more than one track on a person's album. Keep things fresh and remember people are buying this album for you…. Not for the features.
10: Heather Nicole- I really liked this song. It was really heartfelt, I could relate in certain ways, and I felt like it was a well put together performance by Hopsin. “Heather Nicole” and Hopsin should gain some closure from this song.
11: Kill Her- Hook is extremely weak! Tacky, simple, I just didn't like it all. On the other hand, the promo video was really hot, and the verses are merked!
12: I'm Not Crazy- I have always supported Cryptic Wisdom and the songs he has made. It doesn't mean I like every single one of them, but I sorta root for his success. This song, this pairing (Hopsin/Cryptic), was an epic fail. Maybe, it's just me but I feel like they could have done better together on a track.
13: Where Will I Go- My 4th favorite track on the album. The hook is really powerful and gave me chills.
14: Baby Daddy- ‘Funk'in Hilarious! This reminds me of some classic Eminem. Like, “Did he really just say that?” followed by tons of laughter. My pick for top 5 on this album!
15: Blood Energy Potion- Once again I see a resemblance with Tech N9ne on this track. I don't like the song idea, the hook, but the flow and the wordplay make it worth listening to at least.
16: Pillow Man- For the last song on this album I was looking to be blown away. Instead I was indeed put to sleep with “Pillow Man”. I liked the idea but I didn't like the execution I guess.
I really enjoyed this album and it was well worth the money I spent to get this thing slapped on my iPod. I'm glad that I now have a West Coast artist that I truly like, and I care to keep up with over the stint of their career. I feel one reason why I like Hopsin so much is because the good mixture of skills and styles he possesses. He reminds me of Eminem mixed with Tech N9ne mixed with BOB mixed with Asher Roth mixed with something else I can't even pinpoint quite yet. I hope in future albums that Hopsin continues to grow closer to his fans by giving more songs about his life. I feel like those songs are really going to help him relate to his fans more and grow a tighter bond between them. As a whole this album was very good, and I am very impressed with Hopsin and his talent. I actually HAVE never really listened to Hopsin before, so I am glad I don't feel like I wasted my money. I insist, I plead, I beg all of you hip-hop fans to purchase this album. You need to realize the talent that we have in the underground that deserve to be in the spotlight.
In closing… Anybody can kill a verse but only the greats kill them on a consistent basis. Hopsin has some really unique songs on this album and it has a great overall feel to it. This feels like an ALBUM not just a bunch of songs thrown together to put something out there. He also does something I like…. He doesn't constantly rap about rap, or people rapping, or their skills rapping. This album has a lot of different subject content and I enjoyed it thoroughly!
Hopsin- “Raw” (rating): 8.1 out of 10