You could say that Hoodie Allen is the epitome of a 21st Century Man. A self-proclaimed “college educated nerd” and not to mention a genre-blending wordsmith, you only have to hear the MC’s name to realise that his tongue in cheek persona is a nod to fellow Jewish New Yorker, Woody Allen. After a selection of admirable collaborations under his belt, Wonderland caught up with Hoodie to find out more about day job at Google, his love for the UK music scene and finally getting the recognition he deserves – on the day of his newest EP release, All American.
Was music a passion that you always wanted to pursue?
I’ve always had a really strong interest in music, probably more so writing lyrics than anything instrumental because that’s what came natural to me. I like to tell stories and rap became my outlet.
You also have/had prestigious employment at Google. You must be pretty web savvy then right?
You could say that. I was hired to do stuff on the marketing and advertising end but the people you run into at a place like Google are some of the most incredible young people in the world.
Do you ever monitor your own online popularity?
I think I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t. With every new release, I want to hit as many new people as possible and keep all my current fans engaged so staying on top of my social world is something I focus on every day.
Your name is a tongue-in-cheek nod to Woody Allen and you’re both Jewish and from NY. Is cinema another big interest of yours?
Yeah I originally wanted to go to school for screenwriting but I’m also a big math geek so that kind of won out in the end. I love movies.
You’ve been writing riddles and lyrics since the tender age of eleven. Do you feel comfortable talking so openly about relationships, personal life and insecurities?
I’m a lot more comfortable talking about it through my music than in real life. It’s also less awkward (for me)… I’m not sure if my ex girlfriends would agree with that.
Your music seems heavily inspired by UK acts with tracks sampling Marina & The Diamonds and collaborations with Jamie XX. Does British music really connect with you?
I don’t know where it comes from but I just love so many acts that originate in the UK. It really isnt a conscious effort–I just think they are ahead of us. I love Marina, Rizzle Kicks, Two Door Cinema Club, I could go on for a while
You’re a bit of a wordsmith. Is your academic background a blessing when it comes to such complex word play?
Yeah! Stay in school kids and you can use big words in your rap songs
You most definitely alter the norms of conventional hip-hop. Who would you say are your biggest inspirations when it comes to making your own sounds?
My favourite MC ever is Andre 3000 because he is such a chameleon – his wordplay and flow were so unconventional, not to mention he is a fantastic singer. I look at him and say I want that sort of admiration.
What can we expect from the full-length record? Any amazing guest collaborations?
All my effort is in the All American EP which comes out April 10 but in an ideal world I’ll have my first full length out at the top of 2013 and a ton of free music for my fans before then.
All American EP is out today
Words: Shane Hawkins
Photos (minus default shot): Diana Levine