If there was a reoccurring theme last night at Cervantes', it was a pronounced disdain for the recording industry. Spitting in the eye of the industry with bravado, with each artist on the Funk Volume Tour boasting about their independent status, the night belonged to the new generation of underground stars. Hopsin, the young villain currently starting trouble in the hip-hop arena, led the charge and laid out all his distastes for the industry before opening up the stage to every lady in the place who wanted to shake her thang.
The house was already nearly full at 9 p.m., and this was a rare show where every performer left the stage with roaring applause. We showed up just in time to catch Turner Jackson rocking his last song. The whole crowd repeated in unison "Welcome to the dope game," until Jackson left the stage. He was followed by Black Pegasus, whose set was also very well received. The crowd was really diverse with skaters, swag kids, hipsters and even a thug element.
The energy in the room was dialed up a few more notches when Jarren Benton took the stage with his Russian style fur hat. He turned the room up, and everyone seemed to know the words. When Benton asked the crowd, "Who in here wants to kill someone?" and garnered cheers from the crowd, it seemed like we were headed down a bad road, and then he said, "But we can't do that. So we say, 'Shut up, bitch.'" Overall, Benton had an infectious crowd presence that lead easily into the next act.
Dizzy Wright, with his box style haircut and gold herring bone chain, had a throwback style, that commanded the undivided attention of the crowd, who sang along with every word of his bass dropping music as he went through a few songs, blasting labels with lyrics like, "I don't need a major/You played yourself." He later went into a street anthem, featuring the lines, "Teamwork makes the dream work," that had the whole crowd rocking side to side by the time he brought out Swizz, Hopsin's hype man in a bright orange hoody. After rocking two songs with Hopsin's main guy, Hopsin himself joined them for another anti-label song, "Independent Living."
Rocking his signature white contacts, Hopsin came back to the stage a couple of songs later in a Spider-man hoodie. The crowd sang, "Oh, hell no!" in unison during "Baby's Daddy," and remained equally as hyped during "Pans in the Kitchen." About this point, crowd surfing turned into crowd walking, the first time we've ever seen such a thing. Hopsin, propped up by upraised hands, walked across the crowd before being delivered back to the stage to perform "Am I a Psycho?", his track with Tech N9NE and B.o.B., shirtless. As it had been all night, the crowd was electric and willing to do whatever the performers demanded.
Hopsin is a polarizing figure who represents anti pop, status quo and mainstream label hip-hop with a delightful scorn, a sentiment echoed by the crowd as he dissed his contemporaries, Tyler the Creator and the Game, with his signature song, "The Ill Mind of Hopsin." The show ended with an enthusiastic cheer from the crowd with Hopsin asking, "So you guys like dubstep, huh?" before inviting every girl in the front three rows to storm the stage.
Hopsin certainly possesses the charisma and stage generalship that can rival the top artists in the game. With this performance, it's clear that he's developed a great deal since his last trip to Denver. Regardless, if you care for his cynicism or his sometimes grotesque lyrics, Hopsin is highly entertaining and skilled in his wordplay.
Personal Bias: I did not come to the show thinking I would leave a fan, but I certainly was blown away by his precise rhymes and the interaction of the faithful crowd. Also I severely slept on Dizzy Wright, who I thought rocked the stage with style and swagger. I am definitely looking into his music further because of this show.
By the Way: There were a bunch people who were dropped as they were trying to crowd surf. There is only so much crowd surfing that a crowd can take.
Random Detail: Hopsin brought three people on stage in the middle of his set to freestyle battle, and two guys lost to a rookie female named K.K. Day.
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