Gold-selling rapper Marcus Jamal Hopson, known professionally as Hopsin, recently dropped a highly personal single “Your House'', which explores the domestic violence he witnessed in childhood and how he found safety inside the homes of loving friends and neighbors. The highly emotional video has millions of views.

Hopsin sat down with EBONY to discuss his turbulent childhood, how therapy helped him heal and abuse patterns in families.

EBONY: Your song “Your House” talks about witnessing domestic violence in childhood. Tell us about your experience growing up.

HOPSIN: There were just moments of fear. And when you’re so young, you don’t really know what’s happening. You don’t understand the root issues of it. I became used to it, where it was just a normal routine that a few times a week my mom and dad are arguing or fighting over something. So, I was the kid who would always spend the night at other people’s houses. That was one of the ways I coped with it because it was hard to go to sleep at home. And when I would go to my friend’s house, some of them had very blissful energy in their household. I always wished that I had a family like that.

EBONY: How did your experiences impact you as an adult?

HOPSIN:  It subconsciously registered in my mind that violence is okay in some situations. For example, if someone’s really annoying you to a certain extent, it’s okay to push them, it’s okay to call them horrible names. And in some cases, it’s okay to punch them in the face if they deserve that. And that is how I was programmed growing up.

Once I got into my 20’s, I found myself handling situations the same way my parents would and I was in the same arguments saying the same type of stuff. I was never as physical as my parents were but there were mild physical situations happening, like little scuffles here and there, tug of war between somebody’s phone and pushing and stuff like that. After a while, I realized the way that it was wasn’t ideal for my wellbeing. I had a very bad relationship that ended in 2016, and it just pushed me into a wall to where I had to become more self aware. I realized that I needed therapy.

EBONY: Tell us about your history with therapy.

HOPSIN: Now that I’m older, I see there were a lot of messed up issues that should’ve been discussed, but I didn’t even know what therapy was, counseling and all that. Those were things that, I don’t know, families on TV talked about, not in my neighborhood, not in my family. Therapy or counseling , that almost was laughable because I didn’t know anyone in my family {who} has ever gone to counseling.

EBONY: What tools have you helped you heal?

HOPSIN: I did a few different kinds of therapies and in the process of hypnotherapy, I was able to really zero in on these childhood traumas that I didn’t know existed. I saw that I was very well like my mother and father in handling situations in my relationships and life, and that’s why I was coming up short in certain areas.

I started listening to audiobooks. I’m not much of a reader, so I always try to find the audiobook version. I moved to Thailand last year and it was very blissful out there, so peaceful, nice. I just started researching human nature, because I wanted to understand why I was the way that I was in more depth. And I wanted to get out of the dark place that I was in. I learned a lot. I found answers that I never found growing up and that I was never told and it all became so clear. I’m still learning.

EBONY: What advice would you have for those who have been through similar circumstances?

HOPSIN:  Your parents are just individuals who are trying to find themselves. They’re lost souls who are just on the journey. You have to make sure that when you have kids and you’re starting relationships that you’re able to take note of what happened [to you] and make sure you don’t make your children feel how your parents made you feel. And that’s one of the things that I’m very big on. I have a son and I don’t want him to ever feel like I am a burden.

(Photo credit: Christopher Marcus)