Hoodie Allen, The Hype | Album Review
New York Hoodie Allen continues to flex his muscles on his third studio album, ‘The Hype.’ Incredibly talented, Allen showcases incredible consistency.
Hoodie Allen returns with his highly-anticipated third studio album, The Hype. The Hype is superb title for the latest project, given the ‘heat’ he drops on the mic. Over the course of his career, Allen has been consistent to the nth degree. They Hype is no different, giving the New York rapper another enjoyable, well-rounded LP.
The Hype begins with belief, rather “Believe.” “Believe” sets the tone, kicking things off exuberantly. While he sings the hook, Allen spits straight bars on the verse. Throughout its course, he drops a number of celebrities – Allen Iverson, Donald Glover, and George Michael among them. The energy is high and Hoodie Allen is ‘on.’
“Know It All,” the second single released from The Hype, keeps the momentum swinging. Featuring soulful production much like the opener, “Know It All” amplifies the ‘throwback’ vibes. There’s a bluesy sensibility, highlighted on the chorus in particular. While “Know It All” features more singing than rapping, Hoodie drops some bars on the second verse, profanity intact. Two songs in, it’s all good for Hoodie Allen.
“All for Me,” featuring Scott Hoying (Pentatonix and Superfruit) keeps the good times rolling. Hoying sings fantastically, expectedly, while Hoodie continues dropping sick rhymes. With the flow on autopilot, he name-drops Emily Blunt, Justin Timberlake, and Khalid. Also included in the mix are Converse sneakers, Dave & Buster’s, and crêpes. While the celebs and random mentions are nice, Allen is tuned into romance here.
“Why you always fakin’ on the net though?” The slick “Fakin” finds Allen is firmly planted in pop-rap, dropping a catchy hook, and confident verses. As always, his flow stands out, particularly when she shows off his agility. On follow-up “Play the Field,” he’s not ready for committment in the least.
“Ok girl don’t rush it, let’s just take it slower / Girl let’s not get married, let’s wait ‘til we’re older.”
Like previous numbers, the name-drops continue, not to mention killer wordplay. Allen has the ability to switch-up his flows quickly, always making him compelling.
Scrumptious promo single “Sushi” arrives in all its glory. From the start, it’s energetic as a whole, while the production packs a mean punch. The pop cultural references continue without a hitch: Dustin Diamond, Nicki Minaj, The New York Giants, the New York Jets, and Twenty One Pilots. This is gourmet for sure, dripping in mad swagger.
“Ain’t Ready,” the third teaser track follows, keeping The Hype shining. Opening with an urban-pop vibe, led by guitar, eventually, a Latin-dance pop groove anchors the record down. While Hoodie Allen blesses us with his singing vocals, he also blesses us with some his signature bars on the second verse. He’s charged up, asserting, “Back on my bullshit like I’m Rondo / Six girls lined up that’s Toronto.” Thematically, once again, Allen asserts he’s “ain’t ready for love.”
“All My Friends,” featuring State Champs thrives off its pop/rock sound. This contrasts everything else on The Hype, which is a pro. As always, Hoodie is funny, particularly when he states, “I am on my Kevin Bacon.” Also, the performance of State Champs can’t go unheralded. The vocals, as well as the music rocks. The chorus is quite memorable:
“All my friends think I got money now / And their girlfriends think I’m funny now / It’s like all they ever talk about / You knew me then but you don’t know me now.”
“Mad” swaps rock for urban vibes. The switch is fitting, as Hoodie Allen focuses on love, rather heartbreak. Even though there’s seriousness conveyed, Allen doesn’t wallow in regret and sadness. The punchlines keep on punching, including the awesome, “I’m on my Groundhog shit, I feel like Bill Murray,” or the pitch-perfect, Donald Trump reference (“But other times I feel unqualified, you Donald Trump me”).
On “Something Dangerous,” love continues to affect Allen. Is that dangerous thing love? The ‘L’ word dominates the brief, but thoughtful penultimate joint “Heartbreak,” featuring Goody Grace. Again, Hoodie Allen is being serious, BUT, he also drops a Jeopardy reference, along with the music quote. Additionally, there’s the moment he lifts from the Yung Joc hit, “It’s Goin Down.” He concludes The Hype with the emotional, well-rounded “Runnin’ Circles.” Perhaps the end doesn’t roar as much as the beginning, but it’s still plenty of goodness to partake of.
All in all, Hoodie Allen meets expectations on The Hype. Throughout its course, he continues to flaunt his skill as a rapper and singer. Even though he dabbles in love for much of the album, he doesn’t let it sabotage the album. He continues to deliver incredible punchlines, and his use of pop culture is nothing short of awesome. Does he exceed expectations? Not necessarily, but consistency should be his middle name.
Gems: “Believe,” “Know It All,” “All for Me,” “Sushi” & “Ain’t Ready”
Hoodie Allen • The Hype • Hoodie Allen, LLC • Release: 9.29.17
Photo Credit: Hoodie Allen, Steven Taylor