A Close Reading of Hoodie Allen’s Crew Cuts

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After the initial review, I have listened enough to do a close reading, if you will, of Hoodie Allen’s newest album Crew Cuts.

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Okay, I see you Hoodie Allen. To start, this album has seven amazing features, which is something that we haven’t seen from any other Hoodie Allen compilation. Second, this is a free mixtape. He “dropped [it] and it sounded like an album” so obviously by the fact that he only released two singles that you can by on iTunes, both of which did really well, he is doing something right. Watch out Drake. Especially after how well All American did last spring, which topped the iTunes hip-hop chart, as an independent album no less. Clearly he isn’t doing this for the fame and money, because after all, Fame is for Assholes.

Here are my thoughts on the album:

1. Let Me Be Me

Oooh! Hoodie Allen has a singing voice, and a piano, and he sounds good, man! We’ve heard it a bit before. “So pardon the following interruption from this rap shit” says it all. This album is a bit different from any collection that we’ve heard before. But not to worry. Right off the bat we hear the usual sports references that I don’t completely understand, but still bump along to anyways.

Regardless though, this song sets the mood for the rest of the album – he is trying something different, so let the man be.

2. Fame Is For Assholes (feat. Chiddy Bang)

This was the second single released from the mixtape and was highly anticipated from anyone who follows his Instagram or Twitter due to all the studio photos with Chiddy. It’s kind of self explanatory,  the song is fun and upbeat. And just because you’re famous to me, Hoodie, I don’t think you’re an asshole.

3. Reunion

Is this song for the girl you depressing-tweet about all the time, Hoodie? Or is it for me. (Shh, I know the answer. It’s okay.)

More singing, more rapping. This mixtape shows a lot of growth from the Leap Year and Pep Rally days where the hooks and choruses were heavy on the samples (props to RJF). It’s nice to hear him singing more throughout the mixtape, but we still get to hear his witty lines and One Direction name drops.

4. Good Intentions

I am in love with the way this song starts. Probably the entire first minute even. Composed by the amazing Jared Evan, this song captures the Hoodie Allen vocal sound that we hear on All American. Also, feelings. Ohhh, Hoodie has feelings! “If you didn’t know, now you know” is what Biggie would say about this album.

5. Cake Boy

The highly controversial “is Hoodie selling out???111!!” single. This was the first single released from the mixtape. I wouldn’t say it sounds commercial, but the subject matter is a lot more shallow than the rest of the album. But actually, the beat is pretty sick if you ask me. Plus, if you love the fast-rap-Hoodie sound and a lot of “shwoops” and “whoops” you will enjoy bumping this on the highway with the windows down (if you live somewhere warm like Cali, where the video was filmed). This one is pretty much just a fun single, and if you try to take it any other way you will probably find yourself overanalyzing a bunch of nothing.

6. Long Night (feat. Chance the Rapper)

When I saw Hoodie in Chicago this past December, he met up with Chance the Rapper after and obviously it was a long night talking of collaborations while crew cuts danced on their heads (HAH! Clever as Shi’ite, no Judaism, if ya know what I mean).

Sorry guys, take me for who I am, not my politically incorrect puns. Anyhow, the opening to this song is hilarious. It is ‘punny’, and witty, and has some great Chance Bennett influences. Chance’s verse is also incredible. Fun, upbeat, and laid back all at the same time. Schwooop!

7. Two Lips (feat. OCD: Moosh and Twist)

Okay, we’re taking a break and getting a little deep here. Lot’s of emotions. Lot’s of Spice Girls reference? Jokes aside though “tell me what you want, what you really, really want” is far from a pop song. It’s real, a true confessional of his emotions.

8. Casanova (feat. Skizzy Mars and G-Eazy)

I love this trio. The three of them on one track is bound to be good. This one was another highly anticipated song especially after he gave us a preview on Ustream, which got a lot of attention from fans. Three smooth artists with biddies. You can’t hate.

9. Heart 2 Heart (feat. Jared Evan)

Yay! Jared Evan on the track! After opening the Hoodie Allen tour, of course everyone was excited to hear another song with Jared. I love the beat on this one, composed by RJF, so of course, classic. This track is pretty relatable and introspective if you ask me.

10. Wave Goodbye (feat. Shwayze)

When I saw a photo that Hoodie posted on his Instagram with Shwayze I had a mini aneurism with a lot of twitching and partial blood loss to half my body. Then I kind of forgot, and had another little episode when the album dropped and I got to listen to the collaboration.

This song to me is about moving on and pretty much the essence of this album. It’s a new chapter for our Hoodie Allen. We aren’t going to see the same style as Bagels and Beats or Making Waves so it’s time to take that for what it’s worth and appreciate those albums on our own time. This artist has moved on from those sounds and is obviously maturing and changing with each new track. From the fan perspective it’s refreshing to know that he is staying true to who he is.

11. Where Do We Go Now

This song is the perfect way to end the album. As an indie rap/hip-hop artist with an evolving style, Hoodie shouts out some of his East Coast comrades in the music game and recalls some of the moments before the whole Hoodie Allen movement started. He sends the message that it’s okay to revel in the moment, but you’ve got to keep moving forward. Lyrically, this is my favorite track on the mixtape. It’s something that makes me smile when I listen, especially with that CT reference.

It’s been a ride following an artist like Hoodie through this musical journey. He is the type to build a relationship with his fans, and I know there are plenty of others out there who agree. He is one of the few artists in a growing group who really gets it and understands that the fan base is the reason why you keep trucking through this career. So with that, I thank Hoodie Allen for anther wonderful, raw, and emotional mixtape! Enjoy, and grab the download if you haven’t already.

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Old Macklemore Songs You Can Download For Free

macklemoreNYC

Direct download links to all the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis songs that I have been able to find free downloads for. Not to say you shouldn’t look him up on iTunes and buy his songs, because he is an independent rapper meaning he gets no money from a record label, meaning he is fucking awesome.

Language Of My World (2005): 

The Magic

Love Song

I Said Hey

Claiming The City

The Unplanned Mixtape (2009):

The Town

And We Danced

The vs. REDUX (2010):

Otherside

Singles:

Make The Money (Also re-released on The Heist)

Wings (Also re-released on The Heist)

Victory Lap (Released after winning XXL Freshman of the Year)

Features:

Blazin’ High – Tony Williams feat. Wale, Emilio Rojas & Macklemore

The full discography (not including The Heist) can be listened to here on this Bandcamp page, or on iTunes where you can find tons of other songs that aren’t Thrift Shop. As always, if the links are broken let me know.

The 7 Things I Did Today Instead of Studying

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Today I skipped racquetball class in order to study for a test, and on top of that I was exhausted and couldn’t be bothered to go to a 10 o’clock class after a decently hard practice only to sweat even more. I found myself in an incredibly distracted mood. Out of habit I drank a cup of coffee, which killed the prospect of me napping before attempting to study for this test. So I did this instead:

1. Shoved the metal part of a binder clip into my earlobe. You know, the ancient art of earlobe stretching. Well after a warm shower and pure boredom I gauged my ear to binder clip size. Sorry I’m so curious… and gross.

2. Wrote down every 2k erg time I’ve ever rowing in college. I was feeling really introspective and wanted to prove to myself that I have succeeded in the art of success and failure. I decided that failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing and the better you learn to fail, the more you will succeed. The problem comes when you decide to quit. Between November 13, 2009, and last Saturday, which was February 2, 2013, I have done thirteen 2k tests. I’ve decided 7 of them were successes, and I really only consider 4 of them failures because I wrote things like “shit” and “fail take two” next to them. But no matter. They were still worth it. The other two just were 2k tests I guess.

3. Listened to 12 Skizzy Mars songs. I just sat there at my computer, stared at it for a bit, let the songs play. Maybe checked Facebook or twitter 5 or 13 times, and listened to the music. Then I kind of let them play as I did the rest of the things on this list.

4. Toasted a bagel in the oven on broil. I actually did this first thing when I got home because I don’t function well while hungry, but this is where this activity falls on the list I wrote this morning so I’m going to allow it to stay number 4. Every time I use the toaster, I’m afraid that Barbie’s plastic wonder dream house is burning down, because that’s what it smells like. Burning plastic.

5. Took a 20 Minute Shower, even though I was going to work out again. I sat in my sweaty rowing clothes for way too long before I decided that I had to shower. Even though I was going to be working out that afternoon, I wanted a shower. Is that too much for a girl to ask for? No. You’d thank me had you been anywhere close.

6. Tried to nap. I really tried, but it was that coffee. I eventually fell asleep 15 minutes before I had to wake up for the test I wasn’t studying for. Thankfully I had set my alarm. Worst nap ever.

7. This. I decided that I should write a list of things that I had done instead of studying so I could over analyse each bit of it in the form of a blog post to share with the general public who may or may not care what I did today instead of studying. The general public also may or may not have stopped reading after I admitted to shoving binder clips into my earlobes.

Goodnight, y’all.

Amateur Neologist

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I claim to be an amateur in a lot of things, so as long as we can all accept this, I am going to continue to share my amateur thoughts. Today, I decided that I am dubbing myself an amateur neologist, not to be confused with neurologist.

If you don’t know what a neologist is, then you may as well Google it because I figured out what it was by reverse Googling the definition, which I didn’t even know would have a word for until I found this one. If that seems like a really rude request considering you are reading this blog for the sole purpose of entertainment and probably don’t want to have to work for it, I only said that because neologism is what allowed the word google to become a verb. So cool! So meta!

Confession: I really just wanted to type “googling” and revel in the fact that the little red squiggly doesn’t show up underneath it like it does under lesser known proper-nouns-turned-verb. So here is the definition: a neologist is one who coins, uses, or introduces new words, or redefines old words in a language.

These are some of the words that I have created. I invite you all to use them as freely as you please under the circumstance that you kindly site your source verbally in MLA format after every sentence. Or you could just share this blog with anyone worthy of auscultating these beautiful creations.

photato (fo-tay-tow) noun
A photograph of or relating to a potato.
 
experinotic (ex-peer-uh-nät-ik) noun
A genre of music that includes experimental indie-sounds and hypnotic-trance beats.
 
sarcobang (sar-ko-bang) noun
A punctuation mark indicating exclaimed sarcasm where the receiver may not understand said sarcasm.

Things I Have Learned From An Holga 135

I got this little camera around Christmas time and I have been experimenting with it for the past couple months now. This is what I have learned.

1. This is an Holga 135 toy camera. It takes photos using 35mm film. It is not digital. It’s outside appearance will steal your heart, but what happens on the inside is what will make you fall in love.

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2. Not everything that you see through the viewfinder will be what you see on the photo. This becomes obvious after the first roll of film or so. Aim high, or risk cutting peoples heads off. You can also see that the top of the lens obstructs the view a bit through this über meta photo below.

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3. Double exposure! Since you can expose the film as many times as you want with the Holga, you can take some pretty interesting shots. You will only get to see how they turn out after you get them developed, but that is half the fun!

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4. Patience is key. My first roll of film as a whole sucked because it was completely experimental. There were a few shots that I got out of it that I thought were pretty cool, but the more you shoot, the more you will learn what different lighting will do.

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5. Quality over quantity. You only have so many exposures per roll of film, so I found it is better to take a little time to think about what it is you want to photograph, what will make the photo unique, and how to compose it. You can’t go back and delete, so snapping a photo of everything you see will get expensive.

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6. Film costs money. Duh. Everything costs money. Luckily I got a few rolls of film to start out with, but if you don’t develop your own photos, which is also expensive, you will have to bring them to a lab. I have found I’ve averaged around $8 per folder of prints I have gotten back. So again, quality over quantity.

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7. Observe. I’ve noticed so many more things after going out and taking photos with this camera. Because you don’t get to see the photo right away, you take more time to look at what you are shooting. This is what has made film photography fun for me thus far, and I hope to learn some new things on my next roll of film.

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I am definitely hoping to get better with this little camera and learn a bit more about it! If any, or all, (probably all) of that sounded amateur, that’s because it was. But look out for more where this came from!

Multimedia Smörgåsbord

I made a playlist on Spotify full of not-really-recent-but-still-awesome songs for chilling around your house. It’s a multi-genre playlist, or “La Liste des Chansons Alternative” if you will, with a lot of alternative female singers because I had a feminist moment and loaded up on some Marina and other like artists. But then on the other hand I was getting into Donald Glover’s Camp album and added two of his songs to it. It’s best listened to on shuffle.

On another semi-related note, I found this cool artist somehow on tumblr, I think. If you like electro and dubstep and Norwegians, then you will most likely enjoy Shufflethroat. This is his newest EP, but there is a lot more if you go to the rest of his Soundcloud.

I really liked all the photography on his Facebook page, so I asked if he took the photos himself. Turns out his girlfriend is a photographer and does his photography. Pretty, ja?? Well I thought it was impressive so I “Liked” it… like, on Facebook, and the photo links it back to her page as well.

Lastly, I want to share a new music video that Jared Evan put out on January 3rd. If you can connect to the song at all, the music video might make you cry or at least tear up a bit like it did to me. I sincerely apologize if this post causes your web browser to move at an exceedingly slow pace, but I felt the need to share this multimedia smörgåsbord all in one post, mostly because I wanted to use the word smörgåsbord. Enjoy!

Best of DJ Fresh Direct

DJFreshDirect

Because producers need love. Also, Dylan’s is the only soundcloud that I avidly follow, among that are his other forms of social media to include twitterFacebook, and tumblr. The following is a playlist of my favorites. Dylan, if you’re reading this, please make more chillstep remixes! This set varies in genre so press play with an open mind and an open mood and enjoy the next 32 minutes!