Hoodie Allen has good reason to be a "Happy Camper" these days.
The Long Island rapper's first two albums has been Top 5 hits on the Billboard R&B and Rap charts, with his new "Happy Camper" debuting at No. 1 on the latter after its January release. Best of all, Allen has been able to do that as an independent artist, without being signed to a major label.
"I get to invent myself and steer my own ship and make my own plans and do what you want and not have any dissenting opinions to your creative process," Allen, 27 (real name Steven Markowitz), says by phone from a tour stop in Omaha, Neb. "That's a huge bonus. It's a lot of work, but I think I feel even more gratification when it works because of that work.
"But sometimes I look at other people and then, 'Wow, they've got it so much easier 'cause they've got this team and they have that infrastructure around them. Why can't I have that?' So there's that jealous feeling, but at the end of the day I wouldn't trade this situation for another."
Allen has been rapping and writing rhymes since he was 13 and releasing music since 2010, but he didn't jump into it full time until a few years ago. A University of Pennsylvania graduate with a business degree, Allen worked for Google, making music on the side. Ironically when he got out of college he wanted to work for a talent agency "and be a rep for actors and musicians," and now Allen is represented by one of them.
But he still has warm feelings about his short time in corporate America.
"Everything at Google was super positive," Allen says. "It's a very family community there and a great place to work. I wouldn't have felt comfortable taking the leap (into rap) full-time if they hadn't been so understanding and encouraging. They gave me a window where I could leave and try it and come back if it didn't work, and that made my decision easier.
"And I left and I tried it, and it worked, so I'm happy and just very, very grateful."
Hoodie Allen, Supersuperkyle and Blackbear
Friday, March 4. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.
Tickets are $20-$45.
Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.
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