Review Summary: It all started here for Hopsin, but his evolution is very prevalent.
I couldn't decide what to review for my first review on Sputnikmusic, and after looking through the music on my phone i stopped at Hopsin. I had all three of his LPs downloaded and decided I should review Raw. I went on Hopsin's Sputnik page and read a few of Raw's reviews before starting mine, and as i continued reading I noticed that there was a good group of reviews for the album and that it would have been pointless for me to give my two cents. I then visited Knock Madness and found my self in the same situation, but then I noticed that his original LP Gazing At The Moonlight had not one review. For me this was actually the last LP of his i listened to. I started with Raw and then went on to Knock Madness. I avoided this LP for a while, because of fear that it would be terrible. I love Raw and found much enjoyment in Knock Madness, but knowing what this album means to Hopsin (nothing whatsoever) and who it was released by I had reservations. I put my low expectations and fears aside and gave this album a fair and open minded listen. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the end result, but not surprised to find that this is his weakest LP to date.
The album starts in a way that his two proceeding efforts did not; with a skit. In this skit, appropriately named "Intro Skit," Hopsin is talking and eating chips while he cues his mom to play a beat. His mom then screws up the timing twice in a comedic manner and it's overall a funny skit that does a good job of leading into the first official track "I'm Here." in this song Hopsin discusses Hip Hop being run by "whack niggas" and how he is here to save it. It's a fun track and a good way to start the LP. Hopsin's lyrics and flow are superb and the production is good, but it is made apparent right away that this is a different Hopsin from the one under the Funk Volume banner. He is not talking about close personal relationships, but rather his desire to just have sex. This made it hard to listen to this album at first, but I got more use to the idea that he might have been playing into the Hip Hop stereotypes to better succeed on a major label. With this idea in mind I could listen to this album for what it is.
The next track "Break It Down" is one I am mixed on. The delivery and rhyme schemes are actually somewhat impressive, but the production and hook can be very annoying. Track four "Who Do You Think I Am?" is a very relatable song about being friend zoned and what most guys think about it. Hopsin delves into topics similar to this often on later LPs with songs like "Good Guys Get Left Behind," but in this case his pure blunt approach pays off. The following two tracks "Sexy Cyber" and "Pots And Pans" are my favorites. "Sexy Cyber" tackles a relevant issue in today's society; people lying about who they are on the internet and Hopsin decides to make sure the message sticks through a narrative. I like the diversity this song adds to the overall album, and for me personally the story worked. I can see this track being a little predictable for some, but I found little issue with the song. The flow on "Pots And Pans" is addicting and it's production is clever with the sound of literal pots and pans holding the beat.
Once you finish "Pots And Pans" the rest of the LP is a roller coaster of substance. Tracks like "Story Of Mine," "Chris Dolmeth" and "Mother***er" are more personal tracks discussing Hopsin's struggles growing up. These tracks are decent, but they aren't on the caliber of tracks discussed earlier. The real weakness for this album lies in tracks like "Slurpin," "Don't Trust Em," "The B Bop," and "Bubblies." These songs are the most out of character for Hopsin, and feel like an attempt at trying to be a mainstream rapper. Being mainstream isn't bad, but these select tracks are very generic and hinder the album as a whole. The self title track, which is also the final track, is a saving grace for the album. It is more mature and discuses Hopsin not wanting to sell out. I am a very big fan of the piano riff selected for this track and the hook is very tasteful.
Gazing At The Moonlight is an interesting album overall. Hopsin fans will find a lot to like here with tracks like "Pots And Pans," "Sexy Cyber" and "Gazing At The Moonlight," but at the same time Hopsin fans may also dislike this LP for being so much different than Raw and Knock Madness. It is interesting to see where it all started for Hopsin, but his evolution is very prevalent.
*Diverse lyrical content
*Arrangement of tracks
*Lack of substance in areas