Hoodie Allen: U Penn grad, former Google employee, avid tweeter, Facebook junkie, and Long Island raised. With three mixtapes under his belt and a successful east coast tour in 2011, it seemed only appropriate that he would find mainstream success with the release of All American.
He’s connected with the most mobile and fast paced generation, one which refuses to pay for music and forces rappers from every city to give their intellectual property away for free, while they gladly pay for his: the youth. The “Hoodie Mob,” as he dubbed his fans on social media, has propelled Mr. Allen to an oxymoronic level: the underdog now finds himself on top.
Artists must make a connection from the words they speak to the ears that listen; although Hoodie Allen’s tracks may not fit the mold hip hop has formed, his skill lies in his ability to describe everyday experiences in clever ways: pop culture references, word painting and metaphors zipping through commonplace happenings like break ups, bad days and parties is what he does best.
All American stays consistent with the themes discussed above, as well as continues the legacy of his producer, “RJF,” who refuses to stop layering sonic chords in a catchy manner. However, Hoodie Allen has clearly introduced himself to a heavy dose of swag; “Lucky Man,” the first track on All American reads more like a Wiz Khalifa song than a Hoodie Allen one, (in topics only, not in flow). Women, clothes and cars, and lines like “name a city that I’m in and I’ll run that,” along with “I’m 5’9” but I’m feeling like I’m real big” are anomalies to Hoodie’s discography. His fan base is the size it is because of his modesty and relation to the norm. Instead of standing above the crowd, Hoodie has always stood with them. If the fame is to continue, he might want to rethink such bold phrases.
Their were highlights to the album as well: “No Interruption,” his first single, is clearly radio material because of the metaphorically packed verses, catchy chorus and jumpy beat. “No Faith In Brooklyn,” his second single, is Hoodie as the honest, skeptical yet positive artist his fans have grown to love: “I can dance good for a white kid,” “Lord can you tell me where my faith is?/Because I graduated and I still ain’t make the A list,” and “I know the road rules but you need the real world” are all lines which portray normality and struggle.
“High Again” is my personal favorite. It’s a medium paced flow over a heavy and steady bass line with the tip tap of a high hat layered beneath, transitioning into a surprisingly on key vocal hook accompanied by a soft women’s voice. It’s an honest discussion of his love life and emotions; that’s what his fans are used to and that’s what they get on this one.
On its second day All American was the #1 album on iTunes; through social media outreach and avid touring Hoodie Allen has earned his spot with his catchy songwriting abilities and foundation of mixtapes. All American is a pivotal point for him though, one which will challenge his ability to stay the “Humble Hoodie” he’s always been, or the artist which fizzles out because of the fame.