Why ‘Fresh Prince’ guest star HOPP spurned Def Jam and reality TV show
It was shooting night for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The cast and crew were not quite ready, so Will Smith took the show’s child guest actor to his personal dressing room. Hours later, after playing video games with the celebrated celebrity, HOPP was finally ready for his ultimate acting debut.
“I would love to get back into acting at that level,” HOPP, whose real name is Larry Dorn, Jr., told Rapzilla. “I would love being a part of a sitcom today because they are great ways to impact people for the positive.”
HOPP dropped his new album, Everyday Society on Tuesday. To go with the newly released music, he also has a mixtape due at the end of the summer, along with another project to be released by Christmas.
“I just want to make great music,” says HOPP, “and follow what I’ve been called to do by God.”
All Opportunity & No Maturity
In 2009, HOPP accepted a record deal with Def Jam Recordings. The record label, cast, crew, disc jockey and management pitched a reality television idea to a major television network. The series was to be focused on HOPP with every career move being recorded and witnessed by thousands of viewers.
However, HOPP did not feel as though he were ready for this kind of commitment.
“Def Jam was so good at what they did that it crippled me,” HOPP said. “I became so used to getting stuff for free that it made me dependent on them. At the same time, I was trying to relate to God on a deeper level. The decision to go through with a television series while being solely dependent on myself didn’t line up with my faith. So, I dropped everything.”
Exactly one week after HOPP had turned down every career opportunity he had ever held up to that point, the television network accepted the reality show pitch. Yet, because their centerpiece was no longer on the table, the deal ultimately fell through.
“Humility, learning and independence were learned at that point in my life,” HOPP said. “The complete focus was on making it in the business, and I did not hold the same ideals. I was just not ready for that kind of a lifestyle with my level of immaturity.”
HOPP thinks that being an independent artist is great because it spurs creativity that can be molded and remolded to fit practically anything.
His song “Walking” literally transpired from walking and beat boxing. He loves to freestyle more than spitting pre-written lyrics because it is most comfortable for him. Hence, the better the camaraderie and competition, the more comfortable he feels.
“Everything that is going on in my life is about music and this album,” HOPP said. “It has taken so long to produce this album because I am independent. From having the home broken into to having general delays, as an independent artist, setbacks really do cause a career hindrance.”
Having all of this in mind, HOPP really wants to make music for the people. Even with financial hardships, he continues to reach out to those who want to hear his relatable material: lyrics that can help them in everyday society.
The record deals, the management, the DJ, everything that HOPP had five years ago, today he now says he is ready to handle.
“Musically, I want to get back to where I was the night before walking away from the reality TV show. Back then, I wasn’t, but now I am ready for it. I am at the point in my life where I can handle being in a position of power and influence to help change lives.”
Music is just one of the many dreams HOPP has for his own future. No matter the goal, he always attempts to take the time to make sure every idea forms naturally, both career and personal.
“Career-wise, I love acting and music,” HOPP said, “but I would also love to learn more about writing and producing. Personally, I definitely want children. I think that my career would be great for laying down a financial foundation for my wife and children.”
No matter the status, HOPP seems to stay humble. The way he acts today is proof that he made the right decision in giving it all up years before. Now that he is ready for the fame and fortune, all he has left is his transparency beyond riches.
“I appreciate the admiration and I am grateful for any kind of love shown in what I have to say or create,” HOPP said. “I just want to create great music but with even greater content.”