Hoodie Allen and Wale met long before Hoodie Allen had a number one EP on iTunes, and even before he had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
"He's always been really nice to me, I actually met him when I was a sophomore in college at the University of Pennsylvania. I was a part of the concert booking committee that brings in talent and then acts as hospitality for them, and it was my first year on there and I was like 'we need to get Wale,' and I was his direct hospitality person," Hoodie Allen said about meeting Wale. "We have a pretty iconic Twitter picture back from 2008 that just resurfaced. It's cool that nine years later, someone that I look up to now - I have a song with them."
He is referring to his track "Fakin" off of his recently-released album The Hype. The Hype is a collection of 12 tracks that see the pop-rap artist take a slightly different approach to creation.
"For this one I took the advice of some of my peers and they said 'go work your ass off and make 50 songs and then pick the best ones.' I really spent the time on this one to really work and take away some of those normal pressures for the sake of hopefully having a better product at the end of the day for fans to hear," he said.
The Hype is a perfect display of what makes Hoodie Allen one of the biggest pop-rap acts in recent memory. Authenticity, wittiness, and infectious hooks are expected, but the wholeness of this project is what shines. He was creative with each track, but still put together a project where each song feels like an important part of the bigger picture. It is undeniably the most fun, but still most thought-out release from Hoodie Allen in his career.
"Most of [the studio sessions] were really like free form and jammy, especially in the tracks where there was a lot of live bands elements to them. These ideas kind of formed together in a room and someone starts playing some chords on a guitar," Hoodie Allen said. "I love just freestyling melodies [and] letting my brain kind of turn off a little bit. Sometimes good stuff flows out, sometimes great stuff flows out, sometimes bad things come out. It's really like a fun process for me to kind of stumble upon ideas and then form them from there."
One of those ideas was stumbled upon when he was working in the studio with Cisco Adler. According to Hoodie, the two musicians spent two studio sessions together and came up with the idea for the single "Sushi."
The idea began with an instrumental and the word "sushi" in mind, but quickly grew into what would be one of the most popular songs from The Hype.
"We made a more minimal, kind of current sounding hip-hop beat. It was like 'oh man maybe sushi is like rolling up, like when people have those bands and are rolling up money. That looks a lot like a sushi roll,'" Hoodie said.
The Hype has upbeat songs like "Sushi," but finishes with the more soulful cut, "Running Circles." Its diversity is something Hoodie takes pride in.
"I'm extremely proud of [the album]. I didn't really consciously do this, but it's a very diverse sounding project that doesn't really copy any of the current trends of the current mainstream rap [or] pop-rap world," Hoodie Allen said on the phone.
Throughout his career, his music has remained true to itself, and so has his mentality toward his fans. He said that he wants to meet everyone he can at his shows but he recently did something unlike any artist has done for their fans.
Just before the release of his new album, Hoodie Allen spent a weekend flying out to three random fans' houses who pre-ordered The Hype.
"I really wanted to do something different. I tried to put myself in the shoes of a fan and say 'if I was 16 again and I was interacting with my favorite artist, what kind of experience would I want? What would be something that would really make my life and be insanely memorable?' I really wanted it to be like a weekend hanging out with these people. Instead of bringing them into my world, doing the opposite going and seeing what their house is like and what their family is like," he said.
The famed recording artist flew to Ohio, Indiana, and Arizona and spent a full day with each fan and their family and friends.
"We spent like 10-12 hour days with everyone, and I think that was my favorite part. I really got to know them, and you kind of forget this whole artist/fan separation," he said.
This unparalleled commitment to his fans has consistently been something that sets Hoodie apart from his peers. He is currently on tour and has been tweeting about how he will be at the merch table personally selling merch before each show. Find him on his nation-wide tour now and be sure to check out his new album, The Hype, below: