Real Recognize Real: Hoodie Allen on Outkast, Superhero Music & More
Sometimes it can feel like artists move through the world in their own bubble, orbiting around each other but never touching, especially in hip-hop when biting and copying is a cardinal sin. But the truth is, music isn't made in a vacuum. Everything is a re-arrangement and remix of what's come before, and the best artists know how to draw on a world of influences and experiences and mold them into their own sound. That's why we've started Real Recognize Real, a new interview series dedicated to talking to artists about the real music and people that inspire them.
After kicking off the series with King Mez, we turn the spotlight on Hoodie Allen. A young artist who's built an astoundingly large fanbase independently, Hoodie is a prime example of what a successful music career can be built on in 2014.
Who is the first artist or group that you remember hearing, which motivated you to pursue a career in music?
I often tend to point to Outkast, Atmosphere and "Reflection Eternal" as some of my earliest influences that made me want to be an artist.
Why? What about their music was attractive?
Well, with Outkast it was one of those things where I think I was 12 when "Stankonia" dropped. And it was one of the first times I was really hearing hip hop on a mainstream level and I just started going backwards in their catalogue from there and fell in love with "ATLiens" and "Aquemini." I just loved how Andre could seemingly do everything on any sort of instrumental and the back and forth between the two emcees was so incredible. It made me want to be in a rap group of my own. With Atmosphere I just loved the lyrical content and my younger teenage self could really relate to all of his angst and vivid imagery. He (Slug) was and continues to be an amazing storyteller.
What was the last full-length album you listened to... from start to finish, uninterrupted?
Childish Gambino's "Because The Internet."
For you, what makes for a complete listening experience?
Living in NYC, I really like just going for a walk with nowhere in mind and playing a brand new [album] from start to finish. And if it makes me feel like a fucking superhero walking down the street without a care, then it is a good album [laughs].
Name a fellow new school artist, whose music you're currently listening to and would recommend to others.
My homie Jared Evan has some great stuff on his next album and he has contributed to mine in an awesome way as well.
Why did you choose this artist? What about their music is attractive?
We just have similar musical palettes and enjoy the same sort of sound and have built something unique together from that. I admire his vocal talent and think he's a super good writer as well.
Fill in the blank: I would lose my sh*t if I found out that _______ would like to collaborate with me on a record.
Drake or Mark Ronson.
Name an occupation outside of the recording industry that you respect and think would be fulfilling in the absence of musical creativity.
I'd love to be a screenwriter. I've always been writing, since I was 12 or 13.
What do you have coming up in the next few months, which you'd like your fans and our readers to be up on?
My debut full length album is coming out this summer. It's my best work yet. Already dropped the first single ["Show Me What You're Made Of"] and its only about to get crazier from here on out!
Thanks to Hoodie Allen for taking the time to talk to us. You can follow him @HoodieAllen, check out a bunch more of his music right here, and keep an eye out for our next "Real Recognize Real" interview with GoldLink.