By Andrew Phillips
Hoodie Allen (real name Steven Markowitz) debuted his first studio album, “People Keep Talking”, a little over a year ago in October of 2014. Allen has made several smaller EP’s and mixtapes over the course of his rapping career, but this one truly brought him into the spotlight. The 14-track collection features several other popular artists such as Ed Sheeran, MAX, and Alex Wiley. In summer of 2015, Hoodie Allen was a part of “The Boys of Zummer” tour with headliners Wiz Khalifa and Fall Out Boy. The album reached the number 2 spot upon release on iTunes and was his first album to be released physically on CD.
“People Keep Talking” has a strong sense of unity within it to the point of connecting one song to the next via messages on an answering machine. The first track, “100 Percent of Something,” has been a reoccurring line said at concerts and put on his merchandise. He talks of being lost in life and simply wanting more, which, if you know of Markowitz’s background, makes it even more powerful. Before he decided to go full time on rapping, Steven Markowitz attended University of Pennsylvania and then was a staff member for Google. Over the course of his years at the technology company however, he built up enough of an audience in his off time to leave the internet group and make rapping and singing his career.
The second track of the same name as the album deals with all his “haters” and those that believed he would not make it to the big time. Allen has had his fair share of hate or discrimination due to his voice, lyrics, and cultural background. In May 2014, prior to the release of his latest album, Hoodie released a solo track entitled “Nolan Ryan”. The diss-track was dropped for free on his website with Allen going to Twitter to state that the new album was more singing than rap and he felt he owed it to the fans. A Twitter feud then occurred after the solo’s release amongst Hoodie Allen, Riff Raff, and Mike Stud, whom both had name drops in the song. Stud and Allen then exchanged mean insults and diss-tracks days later. Eventually both came to peace with the lyrics sung and moved on to more mature things.
The remaining twelve songs each address separate factors and passions of Allen’s life. From “Act My Age,” a youthful love letter to remaining a party enthusiast, to “All About It,” where Hoodie and Ed Sheeran talk of how to impress the females they have crushes on, the collection achieves a solid nine out of ten rating. My only gripe with the collection is that it is simply not long enough; just one or two more great tracks would have been a great addition. Overall, “People Keep Talking” contains a powerful rock-pop feel to accompany the basic rap / hip-hop lyrics. This studio album has shown that Hoodie Allen can play in the big leagues of the music industry and shows promise for his next project.