One of the most fascinating aspects about the rise and spread of Rap music has been seeing how the genre changes. Once only found in black communities in the Bronx, elements of the style have since been used by Rock and Reggae bands, and MCs come from all kinds of countries and ethnic/cultural backgrounds.
As a white, generally wholesome, teenage-girl-friendly rapper who quit his day job at Google to chase a music career, Hoodie Allen is a sterling example of how Hip Hop is anyone’s game.
The New York City-based rapper and former University of Pennsylvania student born Steven Markowitz grew up adoring OutKast and making Atmosphere-like Indie Rap as a teen before turning his focus toward poppier Rap as he grew up. The Hoodie Allen moniker originally referred to a duo featuring Markowitz on vocals and a producer named Obey City handling beats. After Obey City split from Markowitz over stylistic conflicts, Markowitz retained the moniker and carried on solo. Since then, this self-described “Larry David plus Miles Davis” has done handsomely for himself.
People Keep Talking, which landed in mid-October, marks his inaugural full-length after a string of mixtapes and tours. Armed with a massive trove of pop cultural references, a handful of guests (Ed Sheeran, most notably) and a really solid repertoire of beats, Hoodie spends People speaking about ambition, money, life as an underdog and relationships. That last category is truly his specialty; although he occasionally shoots for the badass rapper vibe, he really has a sensitive Justin Timberlake thing going on that he’s never afraid to embrace. Markowitz recently tweeted his interest in touring with One Direction — a move definitely up his alley.
If you want to place a bet on who could be Pop’s next big sensation, you could do a lot worse than placing cash on Hoodie Allen and waiting a spell.
HOODIE ALLEN plays at Bogart's Monday, Nov. 3. Find tickets/more info here .