Steven Markowitz has an admirable resume. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, he landed a spot at Google. He took a 180 and quit his job to pursue music full time.
As Hoodie Allen, the Long Island-born rapper has garnered 1.16 million Twitter followers and a chart-topping album.
The experiences inspired Allen’s third and newest album, The Hype, and his world tour, which swings by Marquee Theatre on November 1. The collection is a fairly accurate description of his last four years.
“I think for me it was sort of a looking-back-to-look-forward story,” he says.
Allen acknowledges, as a musician, the real work is maintaining the initial level of hype.
“You realize that it’s not just a hill that continues to climb up forever,” he says. “There’s always peaks and valleys and that’s really how life is for most of us, oscillating between ups and downs.”
In crafting the album, Allen says he challenged himself to write a lot of material.
“I just went into the day letting it be very free form,” he says, citing sessions where he would go into the vocal booth and freestyle melodic and lyrical ideas over different beats.
He enlisted the help of several musician friends on a number of tracks, including Goody Grace, State Champs, Wale and Scott Hoying of Pentatonix, a collaboration that was born from a Twitter-turned-real-life friendship.
“I just knew his voice would be perfect for this song,” he says. “He added so much of his own flair that I’m so glad no one has to hear the original version with me singing on it.”
Allen is excited about his music, but, he adds, concerts are the real testing grounds.
“When you work on an album for a year, it’s an amazing process to get it out to the world, but the second most amazing thing is when you see people and they’re actually singing these songs back to you,” he says.
Allen’s connection with his fans is intense, to say the least. In anticipation of The Hype, he flew across the country to meet and spend the day with three randomly selected fans, one of whom lived in Tucson.
“I’ve been doing stuff like that since 2011 when I started,” he says. “My whole mission was to find a way to connect with the people who care about me in a better way.”
Allen spends hours each day catching up with fans on social media networks like Snapchat and Twitter and has even been known to call fans at random.
“I kind of obsess over watching everything and I’m sad if I miss out on something somebody said,” he says with a laugh. “I like to be part of the conversation.”
Fans can expect the same kind of dedication from the rapper during his energetic live show, which features a live band.
“My goal is always for it to be the best show you’ve ever gone to and to really surpass people’s expectations,” he says.
“We’re going to try to do that again!”
Hoodie Allen w/Luke Christopher and Myles Parrish, The Marquee, 730 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe, 480.829.0607, luckymanonline.com, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 1, $28-$48.