Mix Tape Review: Hoodie Allen – Pep Rally

by Sapphire Reels, published October 29th 2010

Hoodie Allen is no fool. With his new mix tape Pep Rally, the Long Islander capitalizes on the sampling scene that has garnered much love and success on the Internet. Along with artists like Chiddy Bang, Allen has hopped onto the indie-sampling bandwagon that exists among the hip-hop community and oddly enough, it works for him. His use of cleverly-placed rhymes over indie tracks has provided Allen with a pass into the world of rising stars.

Pep Rally opens with ‘€œLook What We Started,’€ which features Hoodie spitting over an Alex Winston track. His fast-paced rhymes flow nicely over the sped up vocals, proving right off the bat that Allen is not just another white college kid rhyming just because he can.  His witty lines here, as throughout the entire mix tape, pull from cultural references that should attract audiences in the college music scene. Hoodie successfully utilizes the arguably played out stop-and-go flow that includes elongated pauses (i.e. ‘€œI’d rather be the host, ‘Chelsea Lately”€) and has been made famous by Drake and Big Sean (There’s debate over which of these last two started using it first).

The next track to catch your attention should definitely be track  three, ‘€œTighten Up,’€ which samples The Black Keys’ hit single of the same name. Hoodie holds his own on this tune and once again flaunts his quick-paced lyricism that’s at once semi- predictable and bold enough to leave listeners wanting more. Undoubtedly the hidden gem on this record is ‘€œC.R.A.V.E,’€ which effortlessly samples Giselle Rosselli’s haunting croon from the Flight Facilities song ‘€œCrave You.’€ The slow and melodic pace of Roselli’s vocals over a simple drum beat are offset by the up tempo verses.  The last track worth mentioning, if only for its flawless beat, is ‘€œJoy & Misery,’€ track ten.

Narrated with Allen’s skillful rhymes, Pep Rally is an ode to growing up. With samples ranging from Death Cab for Cutie to the Cold War Kids, the rapper showcases his impeccable taste in music, influenced heavily by his producer RJF, that is sure to attract the most reclusive indie lovers. The one flaw of the mix tape is that it lacks a finitie story, but that’s sort of to be expected on the young MC’s first full length. While on the surface, this mix tape may seem to be just another mashed together album with weak rhymes, listen more closely. This Long Island rhymer deserves all the cred he has been gaining, cred that will surely thrust him into the mainstream spotlight. The best part of this mix tape is the fact that is completely free. So pull out your pompoms and make sure to check out Pep Rally here.

Rating: 4/5

Recommended Tracks: ‘€œTighten Up,’€ ‘€œWords of Wisdom,’€ ‘€œC.R.A.V.E,’€ and ‘€œSo Much Closer.’€

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