DFW Music News

How Hoodie Allen Left a Job at Google to Climb the Billboard Charts

Hoodie Allen plays House of Blues on Saturday.
Hoodie Allen plays House of Blues on Saturday. Hoodie Allen on Facebook
For many people, landing a job at Google is the job of a lifetime. Steven Markowitz left his job at Google in 2011. Markowitz, who goes by the stage name Hoodie Allen, has since had a No. 1 album on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums chart, and he released his third studio album, The Hype, last month. He's appearing in Dallas on Nov. 4.

“I love playing in Dallas," Markowitz says. “It feels so distinctly different from my own upbringing that it’s cool to see anybody [from there] really resonate with what I’m doing.”

His upcoming show in Dallas will feature a full band and expanded instrumentation needed to play songs from his latest album.

“I think I slowed down the process by accident by writing a lot more for this record,” Markowitz says. “I probably wrote three albums' worth of songs.”

The extra effort is evident; Markowitz's performance on The Hype stands as some of his most varied and polished work to date. Tracks like “Sushi” and “Know It All” showcase elaborate shifts in flow and stronger R&B-esque singing while retaining the party tracks laden with pop-culture references that characterized Hoodie’s 2012 EP, All American.

But Markowitz's musical evolution shines most brightly in his collaborations on the album. From the auto-tuned trap vibe of “Fakin” with Wale to the pop-punk angst of State Champs’ feature on “All My Friends,” Hoodie has never sounded so versatile. Arlington native Scott Hoying, of Pentatonix fame, makes an appearance on “All for Me,” a playfully poppy track with a slick beat, born out of a personal friendship — the same kind of friendship that led to Ed Sheeran rapping while dressed as a superhero in the video for his 2014 collaboration with Hoodie, “All About It.”

Markowitz's talent for building a fan base and finding talented friends is one of his biggest boons. He makes weekly phone calls to members of his “friend club,” the Hoodie Mob, and lets them onto the tour bus. Hoodie has cultivated a support system separate from astroturfed street teams and record-label yes-men.

“I just stayed independent the whole time and done things my way, which probably limited the opportunity for me to be in a whole different stratosphere,” Markowitz says. “But at the same time, it sort of allowed me to keep a real loyal fan base who cares and who supports me regardless."

 Hoodie Allen performs Saturday, Nov. 4, at the House of Blues. 

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Nicholas Bostick is a national award-winning writer and former student journalist. He's written for the Dallas Observer since 2014, when he started as an intern, and has been published on Pegasus News, dallasnews.com and Relieved, among other publications. Nick enjoys writing about everything from concerts to cobblers and learns a little more with every article.
Contact: Nicholas Bostick

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