Review: ‘Crew Cuts’ mixtape promising for rapper Hoodie Allen

Ryan Morris

Editor’s Note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

Steven Markowitz, better known by his rapper name Hoodie Allen, released his latest mixtape, “Crew Cuts,” for free download on his website Feb. 20.

Within the first day, Hoodie’s newest mixtape had been downloaded over 80,000 times. 

This 11-track mixtape includes collaborations with Shwayze, Chiddy Bang, DJ Fresh Direct and more. Hoodie has announced he has another mixtape or EP planned for release in 2013, as well as a full-length album. 

“Crew Cuts” is different from Hoodie’s previous albums in many ways. Though the songs “Cake Boy” and “Fame is for A–holes,” which were released early, received critical acclaim and Internet buzz, this mixtape is a little more grounded. The record that launched him to fame, Hoodie Allen’s second EP “All-American,” was all about the excitement of success and tackling the fear of going out on your own – after all, he wrote it after graduating college and quitting his job at Google to make music full time.

But in “Crew Cuts,” Hoodie seems to be saying that he understands the price this new direction his life took with this record. The mixtape opens with “Let Me Be Me,” a song he apparently wrote as a warning to himself to not become a stereotypical narcissistic rapper.

Though critics and fans have told him he has what it takes to be a legend, Hoodie just wants to be Hoodie right now.

“Fame Is For A–holes,” featuring Chiddy Bang, follows this theme, though in a more humorous way. 

The repeated line “You ain’t no celebrity, so stop, ‘cause fame is for a–holes,” is backed by the kind of beat that causes crowds at concerts to whip out their cellphone backlights out and sway.

The effect is humorous and sheds light on how Hoodie sees his newfound fame as a sort of funny situation to be in for a 25-year-old recent college graduate who only got into music full time two years ago.

“Cake Boy” is definitely the most fun song on the tape. “This is for all my Instagram models” is how he starts it.

Hoodie repeats the word “cake” and mimics the beat of Rhianna’s “Birthday Cake” just enough for listeners to realize it’s a subtle diss. It’s also just a really fun song.

“Cake Boy” is on the opposite end of the spectrum from “Let Me Be Me.” While “Let Me Be Me” is about Hoodie’s aversion to fame, “Cake Boy” shows where he toys with it. 

The final track, “Where Do We Go Now?” wraps up Hoodie Allen’s introspective mixtape with slow beats and thoughtful lyrics, peppered with several pop-culture references. 

It’s been a crazy ride for the breakout star, and fans should look forward to his next work.

Rating: Three and a half out of four stars.

Story: EMMA SPECKMAN, A&E Reporter