What “Ill Mind of Hopsin 8” teaches us about loyalty, the music industry, and settling.

Dea Mandija
5 min readJan 28, 2020

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

A trashy record label misuses its power and connections, takes the artists’ rightful percentages, and puts them in terrible working conditions.

This is a tale as old as the existence of the music industry itself. We’ve seen variations of it happening throughout the decades in all genres.

However, in March 2016, it sparked the birth of a furious hip hop song: Ill Mind of Hopsin 8.


The track peaked at number 21 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which became Hopsin’s highest-charting single to date.

As a rage-fueled song, with immense Eminem influences, it delivers its messages sharp and firmly.

If you’ve ever felt betrayed or been in a situation where people have taken advantage of your virtues, you will bump to this song, hard.

But most importantly, this diss track gets personal. Hopsin doesn’t shy away from viciously attacking Damien Ritter, the co-founder of his ex label who mistreated them, stole, gambled, and so on.

A bundle of good attributes that guy.

Anyways, since hearing the song for the first time around 3 years ago, I’ve understood and relived a lot of timeless lessons in it, slurs aside.

Loyalty means everything.

In business, relationships, family, anywhere really, it’s the most important currency one might possess. We’re now exposed to more luxurious lifestyles, glamorous versions of regular people, and to an overwhelming abundance of choices.

Thus, integrity and trust have become easier to compromise, but also more cherished.

And nowhere is the praise of faithfulness as present as in the hip-hop universe. Especially taking into consideration the social and cultural upbringing of most rappers, loyalty does truly mean everything.

“Ni**a, I trusted you with my life

You upped your percentage so I’m makin’ less?!

F*ck you, b*tch, you get no respect!

This is why Hop is comin’ for your neck (Bless!)

This is a snippet from the final verse in the song. After learning the whole story, getting invested in Hopsin’s anger for 4 minutes straight, we as an audience experience a sort of katharsis when it nears the end.

But what did actually happen? What did Damien do that resulted in so much hatred?

“The industry is rigged yo”

We’ve heard talks, debates, and even seen Russ turned into a meme for speaking way too much on the subject.

And yes, within the music industry there are several problems when it comes to the correlation between talent and fame. As my artwork of a Microsoft Paint design demonstrates below:

This condition gives assholes like Damien the opportunity to benefit off of the artists’ “business naivety”. In the end, what musicians mostly care about is to blow up and reach a wider audience.


You sent me on tour and it’s horror

Sh*tty hotels, no sleep, with no food to order

Meet and greets every single day, it’s torture

How you expectin’ an A1 performer?


When all the money come in from our album and tours

You sit there and soak in the dough

When did we ever ask about the gross?

When did we ever ask about the net?

You would just hand us money from our shows

’Cause you knew we wasn’t questionin’ the checks

It’s actually sad when you think about the number of artists that are in the exact same situation. Due to contracts or other circumstances, they might fear to get out.

Which brings me to the next, probably, most important lesson “Ill Mind of Hopsin 8” can teach us:

The terrible curse of Settling and giving up power.

Change is one of the most difficult things that we face

But change is inevitable

One reason we don’t like change

Is we get comfortable where we are

We get used to our friends, our job, the place we live

And even if it’s not perfect we accept it, because it’s familiar


Who’s speaking into your life?

Who are you depending on?

Make sure they’re not dragging you down

Limiting you from blossoming

Everybody is not supposed to be in our life forever

If you don’t get rid of the wrong friends

You will never meet the right friends

Here’s a fun experiment I like to do with first-time listeners of the song, please do try it out.

When this “spoken-outro” (minute 4:40) part comes on, reminisce on it for a bit. Whatever crosses your mind during the introspection session, is something/someone you might need to get rid off or distance yourself from.

Sorry, it’s science, I don’t make the rules.

Twitter memes aside, it’s been proven over and over again that we don’t grow when we’re comfortable, or when we don’t take action.

Hopsin made his bed when he decided to leave the label after working on it since his teenage years (since he was 19, to be precise).

Of course, he also thereby left the stability of working with people he had known and trusted forever.

There are always sacrifices to be made if you want to live a fulfilled and authentic life. That includes cutting ties with people you’ve outgrown, or who do not contribute to your progress.

However, after Hopsin left, he gained his creative and financial freedom, but most importantly, peace of mind.

I hope you all have the courage to abandon whatever is making you as enraged and unhappy as the songs’ depiction, despite the amount of discomfort that might follow up.