Broaden your horizons – Hoodie Allen
As a rule, i’m not a rap fan. Don’t read that as ‘I hate rap’, though the bitches and bling ‘gangsta’ ting does grate a little, it’s just not usually my thing. Often, as a music listener, i attempt to broaden my own horizons, I just sit back, and hope that I can begin to enjoy something completely different. You know something is really special when an artist completely converts you himself. For that, I really do owe Mr Hoodie Allen a great deal of kudos, whole new avenues of music I now enjoy more, purely through the influence of his sublime ‘Pep Rally’ mix tape.
Now, there’s clearly a lot more to Hoodie’s music. Smart lyrics wrapped up in quality production and a laid back, feel good mentality. Any blogger worth his salt is aware of him, just having a little look around Hypem would eventually lead you to his music, and us bloggers don’t EVER get it wrong! Well, not in this case anyhow.
Hoodie’s all over the alternative sampling. he does it better than anyone else i’ve heard, and he chooses the best tracks for the job. The Black Keys, Cold War Kids, Two Door Cinema Club Marina & The Diamonds have all been chopped up and used for his own rapping purposes. Even if the rapping was crap, it’d still be worth listening to just to check out how they actually stuck the samples together so well. Hoodie Allen is primarily a rapper, a very good rapper at that. They are however a duo, and both deserve credit. The production of this mix tape is honestly incredible, this tape would not be the same standard if it wasn’t for his deft touches of producer RJF.
We caught up with Hoodie Allen (in cyber space you understand) to see what he is all about:
Hey Hoodie, how’s it going?
It’s going great bud, how you doing?
Hoodie Allen, a hip-hop Woody Allen, anything more to it than that?
Haha yeah, Hoodie was just a nickname that kind of evolved so for the sake of doing something a little punny and catchy Hoodie Allen happened.
So Hoodie, I know there have been some line up changes as you’ve progressed (your twitter name as evidence), who are you currently working at producing with?
Haha very perceptive of you. If you do have a better Twitter handle suggestion throw it my way! But yes, Hoodie Allen is just me now and I’ve been working with my good friend RJF on the production side, he handled the duties on Pep Rally
You’ve put yourself forward as a self confessed music nerd, what exactly does this entail?
I’m just a big fan first and foremost and I get inspired to write because of the other music I listen to and hear. The music nerd part comes because I am always on the blogs scouring for new music and always digitally crate digging!
From your choice of samples it’s clear you’re into a wide range of music, what specifically led you to rapping?
I fell in love with hip hop when I heard the Stankonia album–I was about 13 years old then and it just blew me away. I was really into the Rawkus era of rap and had always been a writer even then so it naturally morphed that I picked up rhyming. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve branched my sound out more, I definitely listen to a lot more alternative and pop music too now.
You’re also obviously not adverse to collaboration, which big star would you be most up for performing or producing with?
I’d love to work with Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson. Andre 3000 let’s collab!
Pep Rally has been out for 2 months now, how’s it been taken? Are you pleased with the response?
Absolutely exceeded any expectations I have. It’s humbling to have people be so receptive to what you do.
Obviously you’re American, Is there any British rappers making waves or that you’ve been listening to recently?
I am clearly a big fan of UK Pop and I’ve made that apparent in my sample choices haha but I actually haven’t heard many UK rappers other than Tinie Tempah and Example, who are both quality!
Is there ever any chance of you coming to Britain? If so, hit Brighton ;)
It’s my dream to play in Britian. I plan on coming, falling in love and never leaving :)
Twitter or Facebook?
Why choose? I love both and am on it constantly chatting with fans!
The Hype Machine is all over your music, do you reckon they were a big reason for the success of Pep Rally?
It was definitely the catalyst for a lot of the exposure. I owe the powers of the internet age and social media to the little success I’ve had so far and I will continue to feed that hand with good free music.
Are you much of a blog reader yourself? Any shout outs you wanna make?
It’s really interesting to see a mixtape without any collaborations on it. It really shows you as a musician, was this a conscious decision?
It was actually, I wanted to treat Pep Rally as my introduction to the world for most people so in efforts to just highlight and craft my own sound, the collaborations were pretty limited.
So, probably a question you answer every few days or so, but what is next for the Hoodie Allen experience?
Hopefully a big spring tour on the horizon as well as another mixtape for the top of 2011 and a proper album as well.
Have you had any feedback from labels etc?
I’ll just say it’s been an exiciting process lately and I’ve gotten to meet a lot of wonderful and amazing people :)
What have you currently got on your iTunes most played this month?
That’s a good question – I’ve got some Alex Winston, Cults, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Matt & Kim.
But, if you’re skimping on hard drive space and would like to try before you buy, check out the downloads BELOW (RWJ voice