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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 23, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Hoodie Allen is all grown up and better than ever

"Happy Camper"

Hoodie Allen

While not completely unrecognizable, the party-boy indie rapper Hoodie Allen has experienced a dramatic change with his album “Happy Camper.” This latest release marks a turning point in Allen’s career as it shows fans a deeper side of the singer, the realest and rawest Allen listeners have ever seen.

The 27-year-old Long Island musician released his sixth album Jan. 22, following his 2014 album “People Keep Talking.” Allen’s iconic pop-rap style has made his past albums successful. Some of the tracks on “Happy Camper” are reminiscent of Allen’s previous, well-known songs, namely his hits “No Interruption” and “No Faith In Brooklyn.”

Stylewise, Allen is the same artist as he was six years ago in his first album, “Pep Rally.” Staying true to his musical routes, Allen’s lyrics are consistently clever and purposeful, unlike those of similar artists.

Unlike his previous albums, his latest release shows a shift not so much in style, but in maturity. Allen’s voice and lyrics seem to have simultaneously grown since his earlier albums. This change is especially evident in “Surprise Party,” “King to Me” and “Make You Feel,” as they share a more developed tone of voice and deep lyrics about family, friends and dealing with emotions. At age 27, Allen has graduated from the party scene of his early 20s and has elected to put higher meaning into his tracks. A few songs could almost be considered ballads, which is a shift for Allen that really works. Even his electronic beats feature sincere lyrics that, again, augment the success of “Happy Camper.”

Even with his maturation, Allen is still the fun-loving artist listeners have come to know and love. Tracks like “Are U Having Any Fun?” remind fans that Allen is all about trying to have a good time even during hard times. While he is reflecting on his mistakes, Allen is also finding the bright side of every situation. This makes “Happy Camper” both a soothing and inspiring album to listen to.

Allen conveys his message so clearly that listeners can’t help but understand his point of view. The independent hip-hop artist combines down-to-earth lyrics with catchy beats and a versatile voice. Allen has been known to release his hit music free of charge, usually producing free mixtapes on SoundCloud. Returning to his roots, Allen released this album on SoundCloud for free as well.

Allen’s combination of consistently catchy tracks and meaningful lyrics sets this album apart from other artists and from his previous albums. In both context and substance, this may just be Allen’s best album yet.