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Steven Adam Markowitz (August 19, 1988), known by his stage name Hoodie Allen, is an independent American rapper, singer, and hip hop artist. Allen grew up in Long Island in a Jewish Household. After graduating from University of Pennsylvania, he began working at Google before ultimately quitting to pursue a music career full time. Between the years 2009 and 2011, Allen released several mixtapes which garnered moderate success in the underground music scene. Finally in 2012, Allen released his first official EP titled All American which debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200. A follow-up mixtape, Crew Cuts, was released the next year along with an acoustic version of All American. In October 2014, Allen officially released his debut studio album, People Keep Talking which was successful with first week sales of over 30,000 along with a debut position of No. 8 on the Billboard 200. Allen's fanbase is called the Hoodie Mob which he interacts with frequently on social media and during his many concert tours.
Steven Markowitz was born in New York City and raised in a Jewish household in Plainview, Long Island along with his brother, Daniel. He started writing lyrics as a child, and would perform raps for his friends at house parties. Markowitz first attended the Long Island School for the Gifted in Huntington Station, and later attended Plainview – Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, where he played football.
While attending the University of Pennsylvania, he pledged the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. He also played as defensive back for the Penn's sprint football team. After graduating in 2010 with a degree in marketing and finance, he worked at Google as an AdWords associate in their Standardized AdWords Reseller Training (START) program. He would leave at 7AM for a bus ride to the Googleplex in Mountain View, work a full day at Google, return home at 6PM, write songs, answer fan emails, and schedule concerts until 2 or 3 AM. Reflecting on this, Allen said, "I was moving so fast, and even while I was at Google there was so much going on that I felt like I was doing two full-time jobs." His dream and passion was music, so when he got opportunities to do live shows, he decided to leave Google.
2009–2012: Beginnings and Leap Year
Hoodie Allen originally was the duo of Steve Markowitz and Obey City (Samuel Obey, a childhood friend) on vocals and production, respectively. The name came about because Steven's nickname growing up was "Hoodie," and he wanted a name that "would stick in peoples' minds and be a little bit funny and representative of who I am" so a play off of famed filmmaker Woody Allen was settled on. Steve and Obey's first two releases were the Bagels & Beats EP and Making Waves mixtape. These earned Hoodie a nomination for MTVU's Best Music on Campus Award in 2009. The single "UPENN Girls" also received notable attention. However, in 2010 Obey City ceased to produce in Hoodie for unknown reasons, and Steve continued making music with RJ Ferguson (aka RJF), giving himself the name Hoodie Allen. In June 2010, he released "You Are Not a Robot," which sampled "I Am Not a Robot" by Marina and the Diamonds and which hit No. 1 on Hype Machine, an aggregator that collects the most-blogged about music in the world. After seeing the response, he spent the summer working, and finished his mixtape Pep Rally by September. The album was largely produced by RJF, and sampled songs from Death Cab for Cutie, Flight Facilities, Marina and the Diamonds, Ellie Goulding, and Two Door Cinema Club. He picked the name "Pep Rally" because he said that it "captured the energy of the record" and something "new and exciting." When asked about the writing process, Hoodie said: "Throughout Pep Rally, the ideas for samples were very collaborative. We would camp out in RJF's basement for a weekend and not leave till we had 3 songs done—that was the mentality." He self-financed a video for the lead single "You Are Not A Robot," which helped the mixtape get downloaded over 200,000 times.
In July 2011, Hoodie released his third mixtape, Leap Year. It reached 250,000 SoundCloud plays in its first week of release. On the title for his mixtape, Hoodie explained it is "basically just talks to the leap of faith I took this year leaving everything else behind to be an artist." In support of the album, Hoodie headlined a 15-city tour across North America, including stops in San Francisco, New York City, and Montreal, with supporting act Fortune Family opening on several venues. Previously, he had toured with The Cataracs, Das Racist, Chiddy Bang, Mike Posner, and RJD2.
Hoodie collaborated with the cartoon band Your Favorite Martian to write the song "8-Bit World", which he raps in. He was also featured in CollegeHumor's "Jake and Amir" sketch series.
2012: All American
On March 4, 2012, Hoodie announced via Twitter that he would be releasing his first EP, titled All American. He decided on this title because he credited his success to freedom in the United States, because he felt the songs showcased his best music to date, and because of a hometown restaurant with the same title. Hoodie spent five months developing the album, building tracks from scratch with his producer, RJF, rather than using sampled beats. Regarding the writing process, Hoodie stated that, "I would describe it as liberating... It was like, 'Okay, I hear this idea in my head, I hear these original ideas, [and] I'm putting them and piecing them together.'" On March 29, 2012, Hoodie released the first single from All American entitled "No Interruption," as well as its music video. The music video for his second single on All American, titled "No Faith In Brooklyn (feat. Jhameel)," was released on April 9. All American was released on April 10, 2012 and debuted as the No. 1 album on iTunes. and at No. 10 on the Billboard 200. Over the months of April and May, Hoodie made a 22-stop tour across the US in support of All American, featuring rapper Wax, Jared Evan, and others varied from show to show. On March 23, 2012, Hoodie hinted at an upcoming announcement of a "UK tour for June," and officially announced the four dates on April 19 via Facebook. The I Work Better In The UK Tour was his first time performing overseas. The Excellent Adventure Tour, which featured G-Eazy, began on September 7, 2012. He later announced six more dates at which he would tour.
Following the success of All American, Hoodie released the singles "Hey Now" and "Feel the Love" on YouTube and SoundCloud. Both were made available for free download.
2013: Crew Cuts and Americoustic
On February 11, 2013, XXL premiered the music video for "Cake Boy," the first single off of Hoodie's upcoming mixtape. The single was later released on iTunes for purchase. A week later, the music video for "Fame Is For Assholes" (abbreviated FIFA) premiered on YouTube which features rapper Chiddy Bang. It was also released for iTunes purchase. Hoodie commented, "I wanted to write a track that mixed a classic doo-wop vibe with the more upbeat hip-hop style that my fans have come to love." Hoodie's mixtape Crew Cuts was released online for free through his website on February 20, 2013. It is made up of 11 tracks produced by several people including Illmind, DJ Fresh Direct, and Jared Evan and has six collaborations with artists including Jared Evan, G-Eazy, Shwayze, Chiddy Bang, Skizzy Mars, OCD: Moosh & Twist, and Chance The Rapper. Hoodie announced the mixtape had been downloaded over 80,000 times within the first day.
To promote his new music, Hoodie embark on his Cruisin' USA Tour with Aer and Jared Evan which began on March 5, 2013. G-Eazy, instead of Aer, accompanied Hoodie on his Boston, Philly, and NYC shows. During the Cruisin' USA Tour, Hoodie had his fans chant that they wanted to see him on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Leading up to Roseland Ballroom, Hoodie started the hashtag "#GetHoodieAllenOnFallon" on Twitter to rally his fans along with a YouTube video directed at Fallon. After trending worldwide, Fallon replied the night of the concert asking to speak with Hoodie. Hoodie made a YouTube series about this tour with 9 total episodes with the final episode posted on June 6, 2013. He continued touring through the year with many performances through the summer at college campuses and other venues. In September he went to Europe for his Fake ID and a Passport Tour. Later that month, Hoodie opened for Passion Pit in front of a sold out crowd of 10,000 people at the University of Minnesota, becoming his biggest show by a wide margin.
Hoodie performed his new single "Make It Home" on Fuse alongside Kina Grannis which was released nationally on Hoodie's YouTube and on Fuse TV on April 30. The studio version of the single was released onto iTunes on May 15, 2013 where it reached the top ten of the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap charts.
On July 28, 2013, Hoodie announced that his acoustic EP, Americoustic, would be released August 13, 2013. The following day he posted the dates for his Party With Your Friends Tour, which will take place in the US and Canada. Opening acts would be Moosh & Twist: OCD, Mod Sun, and D-WHY. A special fan pre-sale was also announced, offering 100 tickets from each show starting July 31 at 10 in the morning. On July 30, 2013, Hoodie released the music video for "No Interruption (Acoustic)" and stated that Americoustic would be available for both purchase on iTunes and free download on his website. Hoodie's acoustic EP Americoustic was released on August 13, 2013 and reached No. 1 on the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap album chart and No. 4 on the iTunes overall album chart despite it also being available for free download. The EP's guitar work was composed, recorded and produced by Our Last Night guitarist Matt Wentworth.
2014–present: People Keep Talking
On March 31, 2014, Hoodie released nineteen spring tour dates for his Hanging With Hoodie Tour. He stated that the tour would be particularly different because only 500 tickets maximum would be sold per show, the tickets would cost between $25–30, and that every ticket would include a free meet & greet. Hoodie said this would give everyone a good seat and allow him to perform to his most dedicated fans.
The lead single off of Hoodie's debut studio album, People Keep Talking, was released on May 7, 2014 titled, "Show Me What You're Made Of." It premiered along with its music video, which parodied the film Happy Gilmore, and featured fellow rapper D-WHY and Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe. The single was made available for purchase on iTunes and debuted as the #2 song overall. Hoodie then made his television debut on Good Day Philadelphia playing an acoustic version of "Show Me What You're Made Of" after a short interview on May 15. On June 11, Hoodie released a song for free download called "Nolan Ryan" on SoundCloud. The purpose of the song was to show off his rap skills to prove that he doesn't only make pop music with rap in it. However, many perceived it as a diss track because it made references to three different artists— G-Eazy, Mike Stud, and Riff Raff. This caused backlash by both fans and rappers alike, and resulted in a comeback diss song by Mike Stud as well as insulting tweets from Riff Raff. In response to Mike Stud, Hoodie released the diss track "Little League" for free download on SoundCloud. Another diss track was by Mike Stud afterwards. Neither "Nolan Ryan" nor "Little League" will be on Hoodie's upcoming album.
On his 26th birthday, Hoodie announced the title and cover of his first full-length album, People Keep Talking, along with a pre-order date of August 25 and a release date of October 14. He has said to have written 24+ songs for the project, and some of their titles and video previews have been posted on social media sites over the past two years. In a surprise twist, Hoodie released his phone number through social media and asked his fans to leave him a voicemail, and said that some of them could be on the album. A contest was also started for those who pre-ordered the album in which they could win prizes such as meeting Hoodie, being in an upcoming music video, and get their name in the album credits. Hoodie has said that he will be releasing new material leading up to the album.
To promote the album, Hoodie is going on a world tour titled People Keeping Talking World Tour, this includes shows in the US, Europe, Canada, and Australia, featuring artists Chiddy Bang and MAX. The first show is scheduled to occur on October 29, 2014, at the Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan, and the tour will extend into 2015.
In the summer of 2015, he will be touring the United States with Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa in a tour titled "The Boys of Zummer Tour".
Fanbase: The Hoodie Mob
Leading up to the release of All American, Hoodie held a series of live streamed video chats via Ustream called "Hoodie Allen Mondays" or HAM. In it he would preview new music and hold trivia. The fan who tweeted the answer first would get to be called on-air. It was later changed to "Hoodie Hang" occurring Wednesdays streaming live on YouTube via Google+ hangout.
The night before the EP was released, Hoodie announced that he would personally call every fan to thank them for buying All American. Over 30,000 signed up to receive a phone call. Hoodie stated he has called half and continues to narrow down the list when he has time.
Each tour fans are encouraged to volunteer and become a member of the Hoodie Mob for the concert they will be attending. These individuals are assigned certain tasks to promote the show locally in ways such as handing out flyers, hanging posters, and inviting friends to the event on Facebook. Depending on which tasks the person completes, they may gain early entrance into the concert venue for a pre-show meet & greet and possibly receive free Hoodie Allen merchandise.
In July 2011, Hoodie cracked the Top 10 of Billboard's Uncharted Territory. For the week of August 5, 2011, He was #2 on Billboard's Uncharted Territory, with Billboard noting that his "growing popularity is undeniable."
On April 10, 2012, Hoodie's All American EP went to #1 on the iTunes charts within hours of its release. All American also debuted at #10 on Billboard's Top Albums and was featured on its hip-hop and R&B column, The Juice.