Hoodie Allen brings an All-American voice for a generation

Steven Markowitz was the proud owner of the top selling album on iTunes for three days last week. Never heard of him? Well, he goes by Hoodie Allen. With a nickname of Hoodie in high school and great sense of humor, that choice of a name was relatively easy. His passionate fan base (the “Hoodie Mob”) pushed his first EP “All American” all the way up the charts the day it debuted, and the University of Pennsylvania graduate has one bright future ahead of him, even brighter than if he hadn’t quit his job at Google. I first started listening to the native New Yorker for his incredible metaphors and the chill way in which he makes them into stories. He is witty and relaxed, like an Andre 3000/ Mac Miller combo, with singer-songwriter skills of Andre while still having the abilities to rap like Mac. But now to the album; it’s good. I’ve enjoyed plenty of Hoodie’s other stuff, but top to bottom, this is by far his best work. It was surprisingly cleaner and had surprisingly better beats than his previous music. It’s clear the phenom who has turned down several record deals is getting good quickly. The album itself forces a smile to the listener’s face by the 20 th second with “Lucky Man.” The song grooves like crazy and has an amazing chorus based on the way Hoodie can repeat the same words but make them sound better and better with every beat. Not to mention, the song references Jeremy Lin. The fact the Hoodie Allen throws a shout out to Lin-sanity is one of my favorite parts about how he does what he does. Hoodie incorporates a ridiculous amount of up to date pop culture and sports references, as he works hard to stay ahead of the curve. “All American” (itself a reference to being a great athlete) drops 10 sports references in its eight songs. The metaphors ranging from Tim Tebow to Billy Bean, Warren Moon, and the great Skip Bayless (yes, I am still a sportswriter at heart). But if listeners aren’t sports fans, they can still easily listen to the album. Fewer than half the analogies he makes are sports references, and they are not at all necessary to understand for comprehension of the album. Besides “Lucky Man”, another key track and early hit from the album is “No Interruption”, which carries in well from the previous song and is incredibly smooth while still upbeat. Probably the most important track in the album, though, is “No Faith in Brooklyn” which carries much of the same feel as “No Interruption” only sadder. It is Hoodie proving his serious singer-songwriter side and seems to be Markowitz being incredibly honest with his fans. He just wants to know, “where we’re going now.” Sadly, the fairly ground breaking “No Faith in Brooklyn” is followed by a poorly executed attempt at a dance track, which I feel Hoodie didn’t even need to try. “Small Town” almost sounds like something Usher or Jeremih would put out. The sound that will work for Markowitz is the combination of his “Lucky Man” raps and his “No Faith in Brooklyn” R&B ballads. This talent, combined with Hoodie’s charm and wit is what has gained him such a passionate fan base and what will bring him again and again to the top of the charts. There is no doubt in my mind that Hoodie is not a flash in the pan and can chart many future songs if he stays on course to do it. And even if he doesn’t gain all the notoriety that he deserves, he is sure to be popular for the high school and college crowds for at least the five years ahead; “Eighteen Cool” and “Ain’t Gotta Work” both seem clearly geared for our demographic. Both are super relatable to the young mentality, and I could see them both as anthems for my class of graduating seniors. I feel like Markowitz understands our generation every bit as much as he understands lyrics and hooks. Overall rating: 8/10 Jacob Steimer is the sports editor for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.