A while back we posted about our interview with Hoodie Allen, where we gave you the opportunity to pose your questions to one of hip-hop’s biggest upcoming talents.
Having worked with Clipse, Mike Posner, Big Sean and more, Hoodie has got huge potential, and with the recent release of his EP The Pep Rally, he’s beginning to get the recognition he deserves.
We’ve been chatting with Hoodie, and we’re finally ready to post the feedback.
We’ve got a lot of love for you at CTR, but we know very little about your background. Could you tell me a little bit about how you got into hip-hop?
I’ve loved writing and writing songs since I was 11 years old. I grew up listening to the Rawkus Records era, Reflection Eternal, Mos Def atists. Outkast made me fall in love with all I could do with hip hop.
I’ve read a few different reasons as to where your name come from. Is it true you’re named after Woody Allen, and if so, what similarities do you draw between the two of you?
Its just a catchy little nickname that we put a play on words to, but yes clearly I am a New Yorker and I am Jewish so it is all tongue-in-cheek.
I generally try and avoid “Who are your biggest influences?” and all those generic questions, but I read somewhere that you found Hall & Oates a huge influence, which seems somewhat unusual for a rapper. Where did you get exposed to such an eclectic mix of music, and how do you feel it has impacted your music?
I am really obsessed with finding melodies that just hypnotize you and sink you into a song and I think for me Hall & Oates is an act that has perfected that balance between great song-writing and music that is very hooky and I admire that. My eclectic taste allows me to do something unique and not box myself in.
You seem to take a large amount of inspiration from UK music. Is this because of a lack of local music that ticks the boxes, or is there a reason British music connects with you so strongly?
I can’t tell you man, I just love UK Pop music right now. I find it to just be a little more innovative, cutting edge, and the talents are just very sweet sounding – from Ellie Goulding to Marina to Adele to Winehouse, to Eliza Doolittle list goes on and on.
You use quite complex word play in your lyrics, which isn’t a trait I see in a lot of rappers. What was your education like, and where did you fit into the class room as a kid?
Well thanks haha I just graduated from the University of Pennsylvania this May. In the classroom I’ve always been a bit of a nerd haha school was something that came easy to me and I’ve always loved to play with words and what not.
I heard a rumour that you work at Google now. Would you like to elaborate on your role there?
You heard right, I do have a job at Google which is a very fun place to work. But I can’t tell you what I do there or I’d have to kill ya.
Due to your job, you must be pretty web savvy. Do you have any plans to monetise your work, or are you happy doing it as a side project?
Money isnt what drives me, getting fans who truly understand what I’m about and want to see me live is where my head is at. I don’t consider this a side project, I consider myself to be working two full time jobs.
How much of your marketing and promotions do you do yourself? Do you have much of a team working behind you?
I do all of marketing and promotion –it’s the most exhaustive and rewarding part of the process and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The artist should be the person representing their brand because theyre the best person to do so.
How have you found working with your producer, RJF? Do you see this as a long term collaboration?
He’s my homie and we are having an incredible time doing this. Never anticipated how fast things would accelerate. We’re going to be making music together for a while.
Who decides the samples you use?
Sometimes it is me, sometimes it is a team effort. We have very similar tastes and we love finding new music we love and re-imagining it.
What track are you most proud of on the Pep Rally? Are there any that stand out for you?
Hard question for me because I love every song on the cd or else I wouldn’t have put it on.
Is there any rivalry between yourself and similar acts, like Chiddy Bang or Mac Miller? Do you ever anticipate working together?
No rivalries here, I’m only concerned with making music that I love and that my fans will respond to. I am happy to see other really good young artists able to flourish and pursue their careers, really shows how hip hop has transformed into popular culture and broke down a lot of the previous walls, be it racial or socioeconomic that stood so firm before.
What role do you think the blogging community holds for artists like you? Do you have strong convictions on file sharing?
The blogosphere gives me my life, I am fortunate to have developed relationships with great websites who allow me to reach a whole ton of new people everyday. The record business as we know is just very different now than it ever was, for me the best way right now to have released Pep Rally was to allow everyone to simply share it with one another so I have seen the benefits of the power of the internet and P2P very strongly.
Who would be your ultimate collaboration, if you could rap alongside anyone and have anyone produce it?
Andre 3000 doing a guest verse over a Kanye Beat.
What do you think of Hoodie’s music? And who should he sample next? Also, who do you want us to interview next? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!