Hoodie Allen – All American
Two weeks ago, rapper Hoodie Allen released the first single, “No Interruption”, off his new EP All American, giving all of his fans a taste of what they could expect from the rapper’s first commercially available album. The EP was released on iTunes on 4.10.12 and debuted at #1 on the iTunes “Top Albums” chart. I, along with thousands of other fans (or the “Hoodie Mob” as Hoodie Allen refers to them), happily paid $4.99 for the 8-track EP and, after giving it just a single listen through, I was able to confidently say that this is, by far, the best Hoodie Allen album yet.
Now generally speaking, most of the artists I write about are up and comers with free downloads available. In that respect, I am making an exception for Hoodie Allen since this EP actually costs $4.99. However, I have no qualms about this decision because (1) he is still very much an up and comer & (2) he still has his previous albums available for free download. Additionally, his new EP is so good that I would feel like I wasn’t doing my job if I didn’t spread the word about it.
Getting into the EP itself, the feel of these new tracks is, in a word, refreshing. Hoodie has always used sample driven beats and hooks produced by longtime friend RJF, a process that has served him well on his previous albums and EP. However, on All American, Hoodie and RJF have traded this method of mixing and instead have created all 8 tracks from scratch. The end results are songs that are both original and exciting. While still embodying the style of previous Hoodie Allen tracks, All American highlights Hoodie’s creative flows while delivering a fuller sound and addictive beats that tie everything together. What’s even more impressive is the diversity that the album shows. Tracks like “No Interruption”, “Small Town”, & “Lucky Man” have a party-like feel to them, while tracks like “No Faith in Brooklyn” (featuring Jhammel) and “High Again” show off a somewhat softer side of Hoodie. Even Hoodie’s vocals seem to have improved, pushing him into the category of singer/rapper rather than simply rapper alone.
With the release of All American, Hoodie announced two additional details. First, he will be supporting the EP’s release by going on The All American Tour, performing shows across the U.S. in April and May. Second, Hoodie has promised to personally call anyone who buys All American to thank them for supporting him. This latest news is just another step that Hoodie will be taking to break down the walls between fans and artists. As someone who has personally received responses from Hoodie Allen for anything I post about him, I can honestly say that it is a great feeling knowing that the artists you follow are so grateful for the support they receive. As Hoodie put it in a letter he posted on Facebook the night before All American dropped:
“This has never been about one person. Since the day I realized I could help people feel good through music, it has been my mission to break down every single barrier between artist and fan and create a family. If you tweet me, I tweet you, write on my wall I’m there to write back…I love every single one of you for giving me a chance.”
With that, I urge you to go onto iTunes and download All American today. Trust me when I say, you won’t be disappointed.
Favorite Tracks: No Interruption, Eighteen Cool, & No Faith in Brooklyn (featuring Jhammel)
Ludovin – How To Find A Party
Most notably known for his work on Community and Childish Gambino’s last album Camp, Swedish born composer Ludwig Goransson has been slowly making a name for himself in music circles. Coming fresh off touring with Gambino, Goransson seems that he is ready to take his own place in the spotlight with his debut EP How To Find A Party.
Performing under the pseudonym Ludovin, Goransson has released a 6 song EP available for free download. Musically speaking, the EP shows great promise, which makes sense, considering Goransson’s background. How To Find A Party mixes acoustic pop and electronica with strings and beats, resulting in some catchy tunes that will likely appeal to a range of listeners. However, lyrically, the EP is a bit lacking, as can be seen in songs like “Stars” and the title track “How To Find A Party”. Ludwig’s vocals can be best compared to Ben Fold’s. Even some of his songs, like the second track “So Happy”, appear to be trying to capture the charm of a Ben Fold’s song, but seems to fall a bit short. “So Happy” is also the first music video from the EP, which is featured on Ludovin’s website. I would say that this song choice as the first (and possibly only) single to be featured on his EP was an odd choice. While the song definitely has the ability to get stuck in your head, it’s not the strongest track on the EP, nor does it really capture the essence of the EP in it’s entirety. Other songs like “If I Die Before You” or “Trick” would probably have been better suited for this task. Although, with that being said, Ludovin may have been worried that “Trick” would be seen as a new Childish Gambino track, rather than an original under his Ludovin moniker.
Overall, Ludovin’s strengths are definitely rooted in composing, which makes me optimistic for future releases from him. How To Find A Party feels like Ludovin stretching his musical muscles and testing out a few different styles, which has the ability to make this EP engaging to a variety of audiences. With this “experiment” under his belt, it will be interesting to see which direction Ludovin decides to go from here.
Download the EP and watch the video “So Happy” here:
Favorite Tracks: If I Die Before You & Tricks (featuring Childish Gambino)
You can also follow Ludwig Goransson via his website: