Last night (3/8/16) at 11pm EST, the CEO of Funk Volume, Damien Ritter, took to live stream hosting service Spreecast to address allegations placed against him by former Funk Volume partner and artist, Marcus Hopsin. Hopsin, who has recently disaffiliated with Funk Volume, released a track, “Ill Mind of Hopsin 8”, firing shots at Ritter for allegedly stealing money from artists for his gambling habit, not providing full services to his artists, and just overall being a bad guy.
The diss track covers everything from calling the Funk Volume CEO a modern-day Jerry Heller to claiming that Ritter was Funk Volume’s accountant and was cooking the books for his own benefit. Along with the song itself, Hopsin also released a music video for IMOH8, in which Hopsin and a Damien Ritter look-alike are both in court, and Hopsin is putting forth his claim for damages to the jury. Quickly, the courtroom turns from pensive and thoughtful into a block party (the jury and judge dab multiple times, to give you an idea), and Hopsin even raps insults on Ritter to a crowd of “media personnel.” Check out the official video here:
Previous to this release, Hopsin had been very vocal on social media as to his feelings toward his former Funk Volume partner, and he had started to garner a following of fans behind him in a wave of support. Here’s a quick sampling:
Obviously this beef has been a little bit pent up.
But all this being said, there are always two sides to every story, and Funk Volume CEO Damien Ritter got the opportunity to voice his tale last night. As previously mentioned, Ritter took to Spreecast and held a virtual press conference with whoever wanted to tune in, which turned out to be around 1,200 Funk Volume fans. Some were there in support, some were there to throw obscene amounts of shade.
The Funk Volume head started out by discussing the root of issues between himself and Marcus Hopsin. He claimed that he was there for Hopsin from the beginning, but tensions began to rise when a few comments were exchanged about Hopsin’s current position in the hip hop industry. According to Ritter, Hopsin was curious as to why he wasn’t getting a larger share of the funds from the shows, to which Ritter made a comment, saying, “You work about 20% as hard as the most popular artists right now.” Again, Dame stressed that this was not meant to be insulting, but was merely a fact, stating that because Hopsin was less popular than, say, Drake, he didn’t put in nearly as many hours. Marcus didn’t see it that way.
All of these developments followed Hopsin’s last Australia tour, and the Funk Volume CEO and his former partner have not communicated directly since. The only communication between the two was an email from Marcus to Damien, laying out Marcus’s demands for the future of Funk Volume, or he would be leaving. The paraphrased demands in bold, and Damien’s paraphrased responses in italics, follow:
- Get rid of Funk Volume Fitness. – No
- Change the FV logo – Sure, as long as all artists and partners are on board
- Allow me (Hopsin) to bring in other people (i.e. A&R personnel, stylists, etc.) – Seems weird/unnecessary, but okay.
- Dame cannot manage any other artists on the label, present or future. – “hell no“
- SwizZz (Damien’s brother and Funk Volume artist) is not allowed on ANY Funk Volume platform. – no, SwizZz has been around for 3,4+ years
Essentially, things didn’t work out. Damien refused too many of Hopsin’s demands, so Marcus left, and Dame was left with 50% of the assets of Funk Volume. Following this fallout and the schism of the label, Damien let all of the current artists (Dizzy Wright, SwizZz, Jarren, etc.) out of their contracts. Dizzy and SwizZz are still managed by Ritter, but all other artists are now on their own or under separate labels/management.
So now, down to the play-by-play. Toward the end of the call, Damien brought on listeners to publicly ask questions regarding the incident.
Here are some of the highlights:
Did you secretly steal money?
“I never stole money…[Hopsin] is on every email. He knows when I get paid, I know when he gets paid…There’s never been a point where I stole money from Hopsin. [Also] I’m not an accountant, that’s just not true.”
Is this a publicity stunt?
“No, I wish this was a publicity stunt…Hop and I won’t ever do work together [again].”
Are you addicted to gambling?
“I do gamble, that’s something [everybody] knows, and it’s something I probably do more than I should…but that being said, I’ve never gambled with Funk Volume funds.”
and my personal favorite: Do you still think Ill Mind of Hopsin 8 was dope lyrically?
“[Yeah, it’s an awesome song, but I wouldn’t call it a diss track.] “I’m not an artist so…how much can you celebrate that?”
All in all, Damien said, “Artists have the biggest voices and followings,” so the majority of people are probably going to side with Hopsin.
It will definitely be interesting to see how this plays out. Will Hopsin and his new group, Undercover Prodigy, reclaim Funk Volume’s assets? Will Hopsin file a lawsuit against Dame? Will Hopsin ever wear colored contacts again?
Only time will tell, but if this writer has anything to say, it’s that the key to success is keeping open ears, an open mind, and listening to the whole story.
If you want to check out the full press conference with Dame, provided by Spreecast, check it out here: http://www.spreecast.com/events/dame-addresses-fv-s-breakup-ill-mind-8