After the initial review, I have listened enough to do a close reading, if you will, of Hoodie Allen’s newest album Crew Cuts.
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.
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.
If you’re feeling cynical this Valentine’s Day, you only have until midnight before it’s over. But you also only have that long to get this free download of Marina and the Diamonds clever new song “E.V.O.L”. So get to it you lonely people. Download the track here!
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 twitter, Facebook, 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!
If you like any of the music from Does Your iTunes Suck? then you will like this band who I just got too excited about not to share. Combine Kids These Days with a little Loggy from Radical Something and you might get an idea about what The Universe Project is like. To sum it up for you in my words, if you like some weird experimental music with good instrumentals and chill rapping, you will enjoy the free EP, Nocturnal Truth.
From their Facebook it looks like they just enjoy making music and having a good time. They are playing at a hurricane Sandy benefit concert with Zak Downtown, Pyramids, Rasp5, and Julian Cavin on December, 26 in NYC if you happen to be in the area.