Gracy Hopkins & For Everyone Around Rage Deserve a Psychological Discussion
Evan Dale // April 8, 2018
The most dynamic and artistically-influenced record in recent memory has come from a source often attributed with creativity but rarely labelled a hallmark of the modern hip-hop scene. With a view of the Seine outside his studio, Gracy Hopkins – an enigma, a dynamo of musical talent and creative courage – has released his sophomore project, For Everyone Around Rage – which acronymed (FEAR) is a creative allusion to his obsessive exploration of phobias. The Parisian artist, though certainly a member of the hip-hop tradition, exists in his own unique corner of its realm in a space decorated with blood stains, crisp patterned button-ups, and Frank Ocean posters.
His sounds range from an R&B wave reminiscent of Ocean himself, to a violent and abrasive rap approach closely aligned to artists like Tyler, The Creator and Flatbush Zombies. And though his strength lies in his sweeping talent, his tendency to sway as a pendulum between the two extremes leaves plenty of time spent in a more comfortable middle ground, where cadence and energy rise and fall before peaking at their end points and returning once again.
The whole album undulates constantly not only in terms of its stylistic approach, but also the stories it is able to convey with Hopkins’ powerful lyricism. These stories, which come together as one centered around a character named Grizzly and even told through Grizzly’s perspective with the OFO series of songs, turn the conversation to the world of humanity’s grandiose duality. Often blended into a single track, most apparent in the aptly titled One Man, Two Souls, where Hopkins at first discusses violence and death and then, following a quick bout of poetry, sings of love and escape, he is able to create an auditory representation of the mind’s lightning ability to shift on a dime its thoughts, opinions, and emotions.
Throughout a listen to For Everyone Around Rage in its entirety, it’s impossible not to be swayed by the raw human emotion ever so present and relatable from track to track. Though most of our conscious thought is of normalcy and social-acceptance, Gracy Hopkins is able to capture the sub-conscious, animalistic, unpredictable elements of thought and borderline psychosis that all human beings battle in their duality.
Like the writers of the Enlightenment, he is able to utilize his craft to express in a way rarely done before – certainly not in hip-hop – vast philosophical and psychological explorations that reach beyond music in a way only the most pensive of artists can achieve. And yet, there is so much lovability and relatability in the project that connect with us average listeners on the levels that all good music does. Sure, the stories of Grizzly make us think – think deeply – but they also make us get up and dance, reminisce on past relationships, desire to spend time escaping reality in a circle of close friends.
Somehow nothing is lost, and everything is gained with Gracy Hopkins’ bold, sometimes schizophrenic stylistic approach that blends hip-hop and R&B, English and French, violence and elation, death and love, Gracy and Grizzly. It is an impossibly relatable yet simultaneously challenging project that reminds all of us, through music, that we humans are incredibly complex creatures so easily moved by the simplest of things – none of which is more powerful than this album, For Everyone Around Rage.
The highest of praise goes to Gracy (and Grizzly) for his daring and genius masterpiece equal parts meditative, deliberate art and stream of consciousness. A necessary and timeless work.