It’s been quite a year for Long Island-based rapper Hoodie Allen. After releasing Pep Rally to widespread acclaim and accumulating tons of buzz in the blogosphere, Hoodie decided to leave his stable job at Google and pursue his music career full time. To wind up a whirlwind year of touring and recording, the MC released a brand new mixtape, entitled Leap Year, for free download on his website.
Hoodie says that the mixtape is “me growing up on record” and on first listen I’d have to agree with him — for the most part. While the mixtape still features a number of fun and poppy samples intended to draw in first-time listeners on the Hype Machine or just through blogs in general (Fitz and Tantrums on the first track, for instance), Hoodie’s lyricism and delivery has greatly improved since Pep Rally. But the greatest change between this mixtape and the latter is Hoodie’s attempt to open himself up to his audience through slower, more introspective songs. Most of the production is still handled by long-time collaborator RJF and the mixtape still sounds quite similar to his earlier work, but Hoodie attempts to tone himself down, a bold move towards revealing his serious side.
Sure, he hasn’t yet mastered this new style and he’s still finding his comfort zone, but that’s alright — considering his work ethic and dedication to his music career, I’m sure Hoodie will eventually find his place. Until then, here’s to leap year.
Download: Hoodie Allen – Leap Year (Mixtape)