Hoodie Allen – Leap Year (Mixtape)


Although we’ve had mixed feelings about his music, Hoodie Allen seems like a great guy who’s pursuing what he loves. If you didn’t know, the 22-year-old left his job at Google to pursue music full time. From the beginning, one of the cornerstones of Pigeons and Planes has been that independent spirit – the willingness to give anything a shot – the willingness to step up and put passion and honesty above everything. Even in his emails, he comes across as a genuine person with his heart in the right place.

I began writing Leap Year when I decided to leave my job at Google and follow my passion. The thirteen track album is a look into my world and what it means to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted Leap Year to mirror my life and experiences–it’s fun, crazy, sarcastic, and introspective– its me growing up on record.

More often than not, a Hoodie Allen song leans towards the fun side of things, as indicated by the cover. Even his most introspective songs are sprinkled with pop culture references, one-liners, and wordplay that, while clever, seems a little out of place.

On Leap Year, it’s obvious that Hoodie’s production is better than ever, and he’s clearly sharpened his emceeing skills, adding some variations to his delivery and flow that can be appreciated at a more technical level. In many ways, he’s progressing and getting better with time, but while Hoodie is “growing up on record,” his coming of age story could use a few more pages.

Then again, maybe the young rapper is still writing his story. Maybe Hoodie Allen’s music is an accurate depiction of Hoodie Allen, the person, at this point in his life. I guess only Hoodie can judge that. Still, none of this overshadows the fact that Leap Year is his best work to date – an enjoyable, youthful summer mixtape.

Listen below, and if you like it you can download the whole thing at Hoodie’s official site.

Leap Year by Hoodie Allen

And if you haven’t seen the video for “The Chase Is On” yet, you can hit the jump to watch…

  • http://belowtheheavensmusic.blogspot.com BelowTheHeavens

    “pop culture references, one-liners, and wordplay that, while clever, seems a little out of place.”

    Childish Gambino music is the same way, yet he’s gotten praises on this site for that style. Just thinking it might be a little hypocritical to say that about one artist but not the other. Hoodie’s a little better then the credit you guys are giving him.

  • Confusion

    Yeah you’re right. I even thought about bringing up Childish Gambino. I guess I think Donald gets almost brutally honest at times to counter that. But point taken.

  • fw112

    Great write-up, yet how are some of his lyrics “out of place”? I don’t think its wrong for Hoodie Allen to try to cater to a variety of audiences—those who appreciate the content of his story, those who simply like the poppy, listener-friendly production, and those who appreciate the wit of his one-liners. Gambino does the same thing, and in using those same “pop culture references, one liners, and wordplay”, he shows his lyrical creativity (which is undoubtedly refreshing) without sacrificing the emotional and revealing nature of what he’s trying to say. I think it would be fair to assume that all of us have been impressed, at one point or another, with Gambino’s witticisms, and maybe HA is going for the same thing. I love both these guys for very different reasons, and its cool to see each progress (this was written before listening to Leap Year)

  • Confusion

    I guess what I mean is, at points I start to click with Hoodie on a level more than just a fun track, but then some of those punchlines and things snap me out of it. You’re right, Childish Gambino does the same thing, but I think he takes both to the extreme, following up something really personal with some vulgar punchline. With Hoodie, I’m not sure if I’ve felt the really personal side as much. That’s all. Really didn’t mean to sound so negative about it.

  • http://twitter.com/itsivanibarra management

    I think I see what people are getting with the reference to Childish. I’ve never listened to Hoodie really, until this and I honestly dig it. I don’t think there’s much comparison though when you break down the music. Hoodie’s music is enjoyable, but you actually understand where Childish is coming from. You’re also underrating the cadences and flow of Childish. Although he tends to be heavily influenced by Lil’ Wayne (in my opinion), Childish flips back and forth and can actually rap. Hoodie doesn’t really have that ability to flip words like Childish

    It’s like comparing Blu and J.Cole. Are they similar in content? yes
    But Blu is more honest and not to sound cliche, but you actually “feel” what he’s saying.

    and Hoodie is decent, the credit is deserving.

  • http://twitter.com/itsivanibarra management

    after listening to the full mixtape, Hoodie has no content. so although him and Childish are similar in 1-liners, and even voice inflection, they’re very different artists.

    Hoodie does good for himself in his own lane, and he has a solid project, but honestly he’s more Kreayshawn than he is Gambino. I’m not impressed with his rapping, but I do enjoy the music for what it is

  • fw112

    definitely understand what youre saying about Gambino. that wasnt meant to be an attack at all. as always, love the post.

  • Onebigroomfullofbadbitches

    Hoodie Allen one liners <<<< Childish Gambino one liners

    lets not kid ourselves folks

  • Rex

    To say that Hoodie has no content vs Childish is ridiculous. Both are basically focused around the role of women in their life. This tape is extremely witty at moments

  • http://twitter.com/itsivanibarra management

    @ Rex, go listen to Childish’s “I’m On It” and try saying that Hoodie has content similar to Gambino.

    think about it this way, Ron Jeremy and Woody Allen “focus around the role of women” in their movies…doesn’t necessarily mean their product is the same.

    like I said, Hoodie’s project is good for what it’s supposed to be.

  • skinny

    damn. the fact that this guy sampled fitz and the tantrums in song one blows my mind hole

    everyone look up up Fitz, their incredible

  • http://bit.ly/nLjLv4 MyOpinion

    IN MY OPINION: Hoodie Allen isn’t saying anything particularly thought provoking. His flow is respectable but it is not unique, at times it is extremely whinny.

    Childish Gambino is a little more thought provoking with his lyrics than Hoodie Allen. However, he uses racial slurs and degrading comments to women, this is not creative. His flow is slightly better than Hoodie Allen’s but it is also very whinny at times.

    FACTS: Hoodie Allen went to University of Pennsylvania and went on to work at Google. Hoodie went viral on YouTube(owned by Google) with a song (released May 9,2010) that heavily samples Marina and the Diamonds’ “You Are Not A Robot” (released 26 April 2010).

    Childish Gambino started working at NBC in 2005. He released his first mixtape in 2008. In that same year he had several cameos in 30 Rock.

    Both went to two of the most expensive and well known schools in the world. They both worked at two of the biggest and most well known brands in the world.
    Bottom line: They both work very hard and are extremely intelligent. They are both connected to one of the most influential brands in the world that has it in their best interest to see them succeed. Both of them graduates from one of the most well known and expensive universities in the world.

    Don’t let any of this take away from their hard work, good character they might have or future success. Just think about why you are talking about them right now.

    Sources: Google and NBC

    PS – I wish Jeff Buckley was recongized in his lifetime “he drowned during a spontaneous evening swim..” (click my name for his bio or http://bit.ly/JeffWiki)

  • Hoodie

    @My Opinion

    I was still in college when I released You Are Not A Robot. I hadn’t even interviewed for my Job at Google yet….and the song was hardly viral it took forever for it to rack up any views on YouTube, it took off on HypeM.
    Just wanted to react to what seemed like a conspiracy theory but thank you for saying I work hard and have good character

    This is a good comment thread.

  • http://twitter.com/itsivanibarra management

    and I also agree @ MyOpinion’s analysis of Childish. I’m not knocking Hoodie, just saying him and Gambino are very different. both enjoyable in their own lanes

  • CK

    Haha, why was I not surprised when I saw there was a huge comment thread about this Hoodie Allen mixtape. He’s always been divisive for me personally as a listener as well. While I don’t hate college rap as a genre, I hate some of his connections to college rap when I feel like he could do much better, but I love some of his raps and feel like he could really do something in rap. I hate when rappers sample songs that are obviously more successful than they are because I feel like they could be attempting to ride the coattails of a more popular song that already has built in viewers, but I thought You Are Not a Robot was pretty creative.

    I have to agree with management about the Hoodie Allen vs. Childish Gambino debate, though, for 1 sole reason: CG’s “pop culture references, one-liners, and wordplay” seem completely IN place to me when I listen to his stuff. Every punchline of CG’s has a place and a time and I feel like he places them perfectly. But that’s just my opinion. I haven’t heard enough of HA’s new mixtape to see if he places these things like CG or if he places them out of place, like Con opined. I also think CG is ridiculously honest, to the point of almost hurting his own image, and I can’t the same about HA, if only because I haven’t heard enough of his stuff. HA definitely tries to have fun-loving songs to a greater extent, which is all good and well, but unfortunately I feel you have to sacrifice at least a fair amount of honesty if you want to have fun-loving songs. You can’t talk about how sad you were when your Mom died on a song about partying. So there is a trade-off. Furthermore, to say “Both are basically focused around the role of women in their life” is ridiculous, both CG and HA talk about a MUCH broader variety of topics than just women in their lives.

    That so-called “conspiracy theory” that was mentioned is straight-up absolutely ridiculous and bullshit. OH MY GOD 2 RAPPERS I’VE LISTENED TO HAVE WORKED FOR MAJOR COMPANIES!!! I regard Big L as one of my the best emcee’s of all time, better than CG or HA, and he never worked for any major company. Whoops, sorry, broke your theory. The fact that you think that two minor artists (in the grand scheme of the music world) were important enough to two of the biggest companies in the world to the extent that these two companies actively, yet secretly, campaigned to get them more exposure is ludicrous and has to be one of the first signs of lunacy.

    Also, shout out to Hoodie, it’s awesome that you came to P&P, read our comments, responded to them, and complimented the thread. You seem like a really cool dude and I wish you the best of luck (if that is really you, have to be cautious cause this is the internet).

    One of the most interesting phenomena that I can’t help but consider with Hoodie vs. Childish is how “black” a rapper sounds in relation to how much we like them. Whether we like it or not, rap was undeniably originally begun by black people, so it is ingrained in those familiar with old school hip hop (I include myself in this category) that the sound of a “black” voice automatically makes that hip hop better. This is why I think HA’s voice sounds a bit more “whiny” to me than CG’s voice and this causes me to like HA’s music ever-so-slightly less. Although this is inherently racist, I wonder if it’s not also true. This reverse racism would be especially interesting because it seems that white people generally have the advantage in most other facets of the world.

  • Hulk

    Hoodie I’ll be at your show in a few weeks in NYC. I’m excited as shit; you better bring it for the home state.

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