Thursday night, the Oxford community added another name to the growing list of upcoming stars to play shows at Brick Street Bar and Grill. The genre featured on this occasion was hip-hop, the artist was Long Island-native Hoodie Allen. Influenced by artists like No Doubt and Blink-182, along with underground hip hop acts like Little Brother and Outkast in his youth, Allen has found a blend among all of these genres in his music.
Allen said he is a Woody Allen fan. However, the reason he chose his stage name is because of its play on words, and the irony he finds in being a Jewish kid from New York putting out hip-hop music. The 23 year-old Allen has been writing music since the age of 13 and has been playing shows since 2010. Around the age of 15 he began writing lyrical, underground hip-hop, but quickly realized this music was not as accessible as he wanted it to be, evoking a change in his style.
“I’m more focused on making things that are catchy, that are big,” Allen said. “Things that people can really get a great vibe from.”
Thursday night, the artist played a 14-song set for Oxford fans that included many songs from his debut EP, All American, along with some mash-ups of popular favorites like Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry,” Outkast’s “Roses,” and the surprising inclusion of Miley Cyrus’s “Party In the USA.” Allen is a veteran of playing shows in college towns and, although this was his first time in Oxford, he had high expectations for the Miami University crowd.
“The crowds [in college towns] are a little more loose since people are drinking and having fun,” Allen said. “In some ways there is a lot more interaction because they will be wild and rowdy, and I’ll get rowdy back with them. It also kind of allows us to do a couple more fun things with our set because you know that not everyone who comes is going to be someone who’s heard 20 songs and is a diehard fan.”
Allen furthered this sentiment during his set in saying that the reason he loves Miami is because of its reputation for bringing in up-and-coming artists and loving music.
Despite a less-than-successful attempt at initiating a dance off, Allen produced a crowd-pleasing set. In a unique turn of events, he explained to the Oxford crowd that he respected them too much to put them through the motions of begging for an encore and instead thanked the crowd for an awesome show and told them this would be his last song. Not surprisingly, Allen saved his hit “No Interruption” for last, to the delight of the audience.
“[It was] a great show,” sophomore Evan Caprile said. “Hoodie Allen really knows how to connect to his audience, and knows how to make his show entertaining.”
As of late, Allen has been working on multiple projects while on the road. He will release a new project around January of next year that listeners will be able to download for free from his website. The release of his first full-length album will come later in the year assuming, as Allen stated, “the world doesn’t end.”
Fans can find more information about Hoodie Allen on Facebook and Twitter and at his website www.hoodieallen.com/.
Brick Street is done hosting concerts for the semester, but will offer the Oxford community a full lineup of acts next semester. Shows that have already been announced include Jerrod Niemann Jan. 23 and Florida Georgia Line Feb. 20.