By the time rapper Hoodie Allen (Steven Markowitz) released his first album, he already had an EP premier at No. 1 on iTunes as well as having charted on the Billboard 200’s Top 10. He’d been recording music since the age of 13 and quietly built a mob of 677,000 fans on Twitter. All without the help of a major record label.
Hoodie’s debut album, “People Keep Talking,” is available on iTunes, Amazon and streaming services. Find out more at hoodieallen.com. On July 17, Hoodie opened for co-headliners Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa at Aaron’s Amphitheatre in Atlanta as part of the nationwide Boys of Zummer tour. The Atlanta Jewish Times had the chance to speak with him before he took the stage.
AJT: Is it true that you tweeted (Fall Out Boy bassist) Pete Wentz, which led to your opening the tour?
HA: Yeah, someone just told me in my meet-and-greet that that happened after the Tabernacle show here in Atlanta.
Last year was when I sent that tweet and when he responded. It was just a random thought on the bus that I had, and I sort of put it into the universe. Then I found out, soon afterwards, that there was a tour that they were planning with a hip-hop artist, but I didn’t know who it was with. Everything connected to make that go from Twitter reality to a real-life thing, which is pretty crazy.
AJT: How has this tour been, with two hip-hop acts and a pop-rock act?
HA: I think there’s a lot more of a crossover than people see. Everyone has a band. I play with a band; Wiz plays with an amazing band too. So it’s not just a rapper and a DJ; there’s a lot of musicality to what everyone on the tour does.
AJT: How has it been making the transition from a fan (or audience member) to a peer of these artists?
HA: I think it’s always so cool to be a fan, because if you’re not also a music fan, what even drives you to get excited about this stuff? But it is really weird because it’s like, “Hey, what’s up, Patrick Stump?” They’re people who I obviously admire what they’ve achieved and just their talent in general.
AJT: Now a Judaism question.
HA: Just one? No, just kidding.
AJT: What’s your level of involvement with your own Judaism at this point in your life?
HA: I grew up going to a Conservative temple. Both of my parents are Jewish. I think for a while I probably was most involved out of all the people in my family. Maybe more so when I was in college even, because I felt closer to the community. It felt a little more relatable and authentic. I think everyone experiences or doesn’t experience religion or spirituality in their own way. I’m not very outward, but for me it’s a good centering point for morality and stuff like that.
AJT: Do you do anything for Shabbat or other holy days?
HA: I don’t do Shabbat, but I do all the High Holy Days. I do all the sad stuff. Yeah, it’s like, oh, do we have to fast? Yeah, I’m down. Do we have to do Mourner’s Kaddish? Yeah, count me in. Let’s get sad, more so than shaking a willow branch. You won’t see me do that. I’m just gonna do sad stuff.
AJT: That’s a great line.
HA: [Laughs] Yeah, I just do sad stuff. It’s just the way I am. I like the depressing part of it.
AJT: Finally, could you talk to me a little about choosing to stay independent?
HA: Sure, I think you see that a lot now. The Internet has sort of leveled out the playing field for being able to reach people on a global level without having a global team really promoting you. I mean, I experienced for the first time going to radio, working with a bigger team on a less independent level than before. You see there are huge advantages to it.
AJT: You have a background in business too, right?
HA: Yeah, for sure, I like running my own business. I feel like the aspects of Hoodie Allen the business that I control sort of make going to college worthwhile. I can justify it. I’m applying some of the things I learned.
AJT: The actual final question: Who is your favorite Jewish director?
HA: I wanna say something that’s like not typical. I mean, obviously Woody Allen’s great, but like who else? You know who I like? Maybe not my favorite, but Judd Apatow. That counts, right?