Having over 130 million YouTube views is not something you would associate with an artist who is still “underground,” but in the case of Hopsin—nothing is the norm. The Los Angeles based rapper got everyone’s attention back in 2010 with his song “Sag My Pants,” where he dissed the likes of Drake, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross. Now the Funk Volume label owner is back with his long awaited third studio album, Knock Madness, which finally hits stores tomorrow (you can buy it on iTunes right here).

Since first announcing Knock Madness over two years ago, Hopsin landed himself a spot in XXL’s Freshman Class of 2012, embarked on a 44 city tour with his label mates, and continued to watch his videos rake in the views by the millions. While he hasn’t gotten major radio play—something he probably could care less about anyway—he has developed a large fan base that gravitated to him because of his positive subject matter and strong wordplay. He claims, “I’m here to only raise the bar and constantly raise it up, and bring beast mode lyrics.”

We hopped on the phone to talk to Hopsin about his new album but he had a lot more on his mind. He told us about wanting to quit rap, how all his new friends all want something from him, and the dark side of fame. But he also talked about how he thinks Lord Jamar is a "fucking dumbass" for saying white rappers like Macklemore are only "guests" in hip-hop, explains why he took shots at Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West on "Hop is Back," and why he wants to make a song that goes, "Anal, anal, anal..."

Interview by Nicholas Sella (@therealnsella)

I saw you go on a suicidal Twitter rant earlier this month, what was that about?
I went on Twitter because I don’t know who I am no more. I don’t know what the hell is going on. I’m caught in this lifestyle and I’m debating whether or not if I even want to continue rapping publicly as Hopsin because it’s a sinister industry. I didn’t really know.

I heard rappers talk about it all the time. From Eminem to 50 Cent to Xzibit, I've heard all these rappers say it. But when you’re young you want it so bad, then when you’re there you’re like "Fuckkkkk." It’s a love/hate thing. I love rapping and I love the stuff that it comes with it, but at the same time I hate it. It just puts you in this confused space where you don’t know who you are or what you are, and everybody comes to you with the wrong motives.

The last five friends I made wanted something big off of me, whether it was to borrow $2000 dollars or they wanted me to hook them up with something. Why can't I just have a normal friend who doesn’t want anything?

You have too many people asking for shit and it takes its toll on you. The last five friends I made wanted something big off of me, whether it was to borrow $2,000 dollars or they wanted me to hook them up with something. Why can't I just have a goddamn normal friend who doesn’t want shit? Why can’t I have a normal life?

I didn’t really want this—I just wanted to be a dope rhymer. It made me depressed. I was in a hotel room on Twitter just fucking posting shit. I didn’t know it was going to get blown out of proportion like that with people posting it. I’ve been doing that ever since I’ve been on Twitter—I go on my Twitter rants. It happens from time to time. There’s highs and lows from doing this.

Does it help that you’re independent and own your own label?
I don’t know what it’s like to be on a major label, but I’m pretty sure it’s even worse. I own the label so I have some freedom. But even then I’m obligated to do certain things, we are affiliated with other companies like touring managers and promotion people. They have to get paid too, so I might have to show up somewhere so they can get their little cut out of it, so it all works together. Sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it.

A major label would be even worse I’m sure, but there is still stress being independent. Just being an artist, the fame is what fucks you up. When you make money and realize it's not really doing anything for you. I’m just stacking money right now and it aint doing shit for my fucking emotions at all. It almost makes me depressed, the more I make.

So you’d rather just go skateboarding and get away?
I would love to go skateboarding right now. The Knock Madness Tour will be cool, but honestly, I would love right now if they called and said, "Hey Hopsin, the Knock Madness Tour is cancelled. Don't worry, nobody is mad.’ I would be like, "Yes!" I could go skate and be happy. I’d build a skatepark in my house and just go fucking skate. I love rapping too, don’t get me wrong. It’s the promotional part, the business side, playing the role of a rapper and going out to appearances, that’s what becomes stressful.

I saw you also spoke out about Lord Jamar’s recent comments about Macklemore and his “gay agenda” and how white rappers are guests in hip-hop. 
He's entitled to his own opinion and I’m entitled to mine. I think he’s a fucking dumbass for saying that and pulling the white card on white rappers and saying it’s a black thing. Yeah it was, but times have changed. When you break it down, what white rappers are coming in? Some people are like "racism is still existing" and "this was a black people’s thing and these white people came and took it over."

What white people really came in and took it over? Rap is a thing where you have to be dope in order to get in—especially if you're white. If you’re dope and can spit a 16, it doesn’t matter what color you are. Come on in. That’s how rap works.

Lord Jamar, from what I’ve been seeing from him, he’s irrelevant and he’s looking for anything. He’s like the Paris Hilton of rap, he’s getting big off a buzz that doesn’t really mean anything when you break it down. What is he doing? He’s an irrelevant old fart who is just doing something to get people to notice.

Macklemore is not a wack rapper, Machine Gun Kelly is not a wack rapper, Eminem is not a wack rapper. These guys aren’t spitting some bullshit and they are taking over. They don’t look like some nerdy corny business guys that came straight out of college and all of a sudden they're billionaires in the rap game and make every black rapper look stupid. Kendrick Lamar is making a lot of money, J. Cole is making a lot of fucking money, I’m making money, Tech N9ne is making money, and Drake is making money. You don’t see Drake going, "Damn these white rappers taking all my money.'

It’s so stupid. The white guys aren’t taking over the rap game and fucking it up. Eminem made it and he deserves it—not many people can rip like he does. Macklemore is dope, has been grinding for a fucking long time, he changed a lot of people’s lives, and he’s good. Machine Gun Kelly is the same way and he inspires me. I’m a fucking black rapper and I see some shit he does and I’m like, "Oh shit."

It’s not about race, its about dope shit and talent that inspires more talent. It’s all love. If you see somebody like fucking George Bush rapping and all of a sudden he’s taking over the radio—you’d be like, "OK, this George Bush motherfucker is on the radio with this hit out of nowhere." Then it’s like, "Something fishy is going on here."

If this white guy is trying to kill the black population off in hip-hop and then you see all these other guys following him, then it would be questionable—but you don’t see that. When you turn on the radio, how many white rappers do you actually hear? All I hear is a bunch of J. Cole, a bunch of Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Lil Wayne, and 2 Chainz. Where are the white people and how have they taken over? It’s just a dumb argument to begin with.

Lord Jamar, from what I’ve been seeing from him, he’s irrelevant and he’s looking for anything. He’s like the Paris Hilton of rap, he’s getting big off a buzz that doesn’t really mean anything when you break it down. What is he doing? He’s an irrelevant old fart who is just doing something to get people to notice.

I don’t know if he’s going to drop an album or anything. All I see on my Facebook news feed is Lord Jamar starting shit with other people. Where’s the music? All I see is Twitter arguments. Come on man. What are you? Are you an argument guy—do you want to go on a debate? Are you here to do hip-hop? I don’t know dude. It's stupid.

Switching gears, on “Hop is Back,” you have lines about Kanye and Kendrick. You say, "Man, Kanye on that bullshit" and call Kendrick a "fucking midget." You’ve also said that you don’t think Kendrick is raising the bar high.
For me, I’m aiming higher than God’s head. Just for him to say that—he can raise it on somebody like A$AP Rocky or these other guys, but I do this shit so. Any rapper who says that—I don’t care, any rapper can say that. I’m just gonna be like, "I’ll raise it even higher." That’s motivation for me.

So you think that your bar is higher than anyone?
I’m not saying my bar is higher than anyone, I’m just saying that I’m raising it as high as I can. I don’t think Kendrick’s bar is that high. He’s still a good MC and I can respect him. His bar isn’t lower than me like, "Get that shit out of here." It’s just not that high to me where it’s like, "Oh my God, did you hear what he said? Wow! How did he come up with that?" I have never felt that way about his music. But there have been lines that were cool.

The rap game does need him—I will say that. He is a valid candidate to be in the rap game, he plays an important part. There is no beef or anything.

So are there any rappers you listen to currently who you think raise the bar?
I really respect Joe Budden. I like his rap style, the way he delivers, and the way his confidence sounds. He’s probably a rapper that if I had to go toe to toe with him battling, I'd be like, "Damn, I don’t know." As of right now, I’m listening to Joe Budden’s stuff like, "This dude is fucking sick!"

Tyga has a song “Molly” that goes, "Molly, Molly, Molly." Imagine a song that just went, “Anal, anal, anal/I’m trying to do that anal, anal, no condom, anal, anal." What is going on here? That shouldn’t be tolerated by society.

Another song I wanted to ask about was "Old Friend." What made you decide to talk about losing a friend to crystal meth?
I talked about that situation in an old song but I wanted to touch on it again. So many people are doing exactly what he did and they’re young, they need to know the fucking consequences of this shit. People can't be throwing their lives away like that, they need to see a brighter side.

All that stuff has consequences, especially if you start at such a young age when your brain is not fully developed. I wanted to be able to say I changed somebody’s life or at least open their minds to know what is down the road if they want to start doing crystal meth or any other drug. It hurts the family, it hurts the friends, it hurts everybody.

It’s good have to some balance when you have all these Molly songs…
That Molly stuff man—that shit pisses me off. How could they support something like that’s so fucking—Molly is a drug, some people can overdo it and then they play it on the radio too. You’re going to openly promote this drug and you know what it is? How could you do that, really?

Tyga has a song “Molly” that goes, "Molly, Molly, Molly." Imagine a song that just went, “Anal, anal, anal/I’m trying to do that anal, anal, no condom, anal, anal." What is going on here? That shouldn’t be tolerated by fucking society. Yeah people like to do fucking Molly but don’t promote that shit to the fucking masses.

There’s really no rules no more. Somebody is up to some shit, whoever is behind the fucking keyboard is really plotting some shit and then letting that leak out to the radios. The youngsters are even dumber these days then when I was younger. People weren’t smoking or doing shit until like 8th or 9th grade, now they’re doing it in 4th and 5th grade. You go on YouTube and see little kids holding guns. Society is fucked dude, society is fucked. I’m doing my best to be a positive role model to some people.

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