Funk Volume has had a quiet, yet productive 2015. Jarren Benton kicked things off with Slow Motion Volume One. Then, DJ Hoppa and Dizzy Wright followed suit with Hoppa and Friends and The Growing Process. So, it’s only fitting that Hopsin join in on the action. Pound Syndrome marks the Panorama City emcee’s third LP on the imprint, reacclimating the lightning-fast wordsmith two years removed from his last effort, Knock Madness.

Hopsin finds himself at an unfamiliar juncture at this stage of his career. The two prevailing themes of Pound Syndrome are tough love and feeling underappreciated. Hopsin sticks to a first-person narrative for the bulk of the album, speaking to loved ones and enemies alike regarding unappreciation both materially and emotionally. Setting the table on “The Pound (Intro),” he declares: “I’m about to sprout to start a new style’s full of envy / I need to cool down what is in me / Everything I have bottled up pukes out when the pen bleeds.” The lyricism on Pound Syndrome is expectedly dark but, the earnestness of it all makes for a more digestible listening experience.

Lyrical chops notwithstanding, Hopsin is no slouch when it comes to production techniques. A true savant, his beats are multidimensional in their layering, and he even sings hooks on occasion. On the third track, “No Hope,” he scolds friends and an ex-fling for leeching off of him and his success by asking, “Where would you be without me?” The mood of the track matches the downtempo piano melody though, moments like these hardly predominate Pound Syndrome. “Crown Me” is grittily dark with Hopsin doing his best Mystikal impression on the hook, while “Ramona” is a truly bumpin’ number that sees him and Jarren Benton humorously spitting rhymes about an obsessive female stalker. As a whole, the tonal mood of the album is consistent, but the lyricism is an emotional roller coaster.

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Hopsin has an excellent written voice. Time and time again, he displays his lyrical acrobatics going bar-for-bar and never mincing words. On “Fort Collins” with Dizzy Wright, Hop apologizes to the Colorado fans he jilted while on the Knock Madness Tour in 2014. The mood makes a change for the better on “FV Till I Die,” as he returns to the infectious braggadocio: “I shot a video with my nigga Tech and B.o.B / I went from feeling lonely to how does everyone know me? / 2012 I made the XXL Freshman list / I know that this fuckin’ game was gon’ be mine when I stepped in it.” In a sign of his mindfulness, Hopsin touches on a number of other topics. “Ill Mind of Hopsin 7” is angry, smart and emotional all at once, as he tackles religion and government corruption before speaking directly to God on the last verse. “Fly,” meanwhile, is a socially conscious, spoken word-inspired rap with uplifting messages of self-love: “Focus on your life and the path you’re pursuing / Cause y’all too busy worried about what Kim Kardashian’s doing / Check it, most of this shit that you sheep are watching on television / Is fake as fuck and is not real, I rebel against it.” Throughout the album, this message is articulated in more ways than one, but here it rings through exceptionally powerful.

On Pound Syndrome, Hopsin reaffirms his status as a master orator and a dual threat rapper-producer to be reckoned with. The bars are up to snuff and his musical ear is only getting sharper. Some tracks fall flat in the grand scheme of things, but mostly, Pound Syndrome is a wonderfully chaotic immersion into the ill mind of Hopsin.