How To Rap Like Hopsin

How To Rap Like Hopsin

In today’s article we’re going to break down and discuss the writing process of none other than Hopsin… 

This is a continuation on a series we started last week by breaking down the known creative processes of Logic… 

…Which was a resounding success, so we decided to take on another artist with a similar fanbase, Hopsin

If you’re a fan of his music or an artist yourself who would like to know the writing rap lyrics creative process of Hopsin… this is the article for you!

Our “How To Rap Like Hopsin” YouTube Training!

How Hopsin Got Started

Hopsin recorded his self-produced indie album, Emerge, mostly between 2002 and 2003.

But, in 2005, he grabbed an $8 Wal-Mart microphone, put the Fruity Loops program on his computer, and turned the basement into his recording lab. 

While it should go without saying Hopsin has progressed far past only relying on such basic materials to record his music…

…This should be an indication to up-and-coming artists that the old cliche, “just start somewhere” is a tried and true method. 

Even the act of setting up your own personal creative space, leaning into a microphone, editing vocals, and the entire PHYSICAL process of recording raps…

…Can help prepare you for the full studio experience when it’s time to go. If money is tight, that shouldn’t be an excuse to not get at least the bare essentials like Hopsin did. 

How To Rap Like Hopsin Physical
Hopsin bought his first mic for $8

Writing Rap Lyrics Creative Process: How Long To Write A Song?

As opposed to many artists who are on record as saying they write their best music quickly… 

Notably Eminem wrote “My Name Is” along with two other songs on the very first day of meeting Dr. Dre… 

Hopsin lets his thoughts marinate when writing a song: 

“When I write a song it takes me a while. And I don’t write all songs right there on the spot like in one session, boom, nailed it, killed it. 

I let the beat play for hours and hours and hours as I’m just living in my house. It’s like I have to really, really embed it into my brain and just feel this, feel what I’m trying to say and how I want to deliver myself on the song.”

All Def Music Interview

Now, I think we should note here the difference between taking time to “embed music in your brain” and just plain procrastination. 

A lot of beginning artists believe that because Hopsin doesn’t write all songs on the spot that means that it’s okay to take a week to write one or two verses…

If you are still perfecting your craft, you need to make a large quantity of music in order to start landing quality consistently. 

Your first year or so of rap should be writing A LOT of raps in one sitting to get the fundamentals locked in… 

Then you can space it out more like Hopsin does.

How To Rap Like Hopsin: Sobriety

Another reason why it’s probably easy for Hopsin to take his time with writing is his not beholden to a drug addiction to help him create.

It goes without saying that a lot of artist use “extracurricular activities” to help with their creative flow. 

Not with Hopsin. He doesn’t drink or use drugs at any point during his writing process (or otherwise): 

“The way I feel is that to tackle obstacles in a pure mindset is going to hurt. Once I go through that obstacle, and the next time I run into it, I’m going to know how to deal with it. I’ll be stronger. It could be stuff dealing with pain, or it could be about happiness as well. You know If I go to the club or a party, I’m never wasted or anything. I’m sober, and I’m still having fun. A lot of people feel like they can’t have fun without being intoxicated or something. That’s not true.”

Killer Hip Hop Interview
How To Rap Like Hopsin Sober
Hopsin is always sober

Hopsin’s Studio Process 

Now that Hopsin is a self-admitted millionaire with a full-fledged music career and pro studios to record at, what are his studio routines NOW?

“It’s 100 percent me all by myself. I can’t have anybody there when I’m writing or coming up with any music or anything. Once it’s all done, then I have everything down to where it’s just the beat. I recorded the rough draft of the song, and we go in and finalize it. 

At that point, there’s no interference in what I’m actually creating. It’s me just finalizing everything, but nobody’s there when I create anything. Like, if I have an idea or whatever, it’s just me in my room, my studio, and just making the beat, coming up with the chorus, writing the lyrics, and making sure it’s the way I want it.”

Hip Hop DX Interview

A quick note about this:

Hopsin likely developed this style because he self-produced his own work coming up.

It should go without saying that many rappers do not record by themselves with no one around or wait until they have a finish product to record.

One of the more notable examples is Lil’ Wayne who literally records two or four bars at a time with many people in the studio… and puts out TONS of music.

Similarly, 2Pac was well-known for recording music with big entourages around him including The Outlawz, his personal crew… which is part of the reason why they have so many ‘Pac verses on their projects and vice versa.

In any case, part of Hopsin’s work flow likely developed this way because he “learned how to rap” by working with himself at home, as opposed to a Lil’ Wayne or a 2Pac who were recorded major label albums as young as their teenage years… 

Microphone Placement 

“Another thing that’s essential for me in the studio is having a chair that’s right in front of the computer and the microphone right on the right side of me. 

My whole station is just like, almost like a spaceship. I don’t wanna be getting up too much and I just like everything to be right here. My keyboard’s right here, my computer’s right here. 

The microphone’s right here. And I move so fast in the studio it’s almost like I record, play it back, may add an instrument real quick and it just moves like that.”

Studio Essentials

Again, for an artist who has a more hands-on approach to the recording of their music… 

Something like having everything very close to them where the can self-edit is very crucial.

It also appears like Hopsin likes to have his studio more like an alcove with everything close by as opposed to just a booth.

Notably Eminem has said that he really enjoys being in a booth specifically to record.

How To Rap Like Hopsin Microphone Placement
Hopsin is specific about microphone placement

Studio Mood 

“Another thing is, the lights are always out. My studio is dark. Like you don’ see nothing but screen. 

So even the keyboard, I don’t even know what I’m pressing but that’s my vibe, I, it just helps stimulate my mind and put it in that place where I need to be to create the sound that I’m looking for.”

Studio Essentials Interview

It’s not uncommon for artists to like to have the lights out or set to a certain color tone to set the vibe of the music, however probably the most unique thing about Hopsin’s recording process is how he basically goes COMMANDO to get a commanding presence on the mic… 

“I get really hot in my studio and I’m always in my boxers when I record. 

So, I don’t like wearing too many clothes, because when I do I get really hot. I don’t know, I just sweat like crazy when I’m rapping. 

My body has to be comfortable to project my voice the way that it needs to sound especially on songs where I’m really aggressive, like most of my songs.”

Studio Essentials Interview

Wow. Now, while this sounds like it WOULD be extremely comfortable to record in, I wouldn’t suggest newer artists building up this habit as you might need to be recording with other people quite a bit on your come up… just something to think about.



Comment Below: 

What is your favorite Hopsin song?

Drew Morisey, @drewmorisey on Instagram and Twitter

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