Artist To Watch: Here's Why You Need To Join The Hoodie Mob Right Now

This former Google employee is about to become your favorite rapper. Wait, what?

Are your parents giving you grief about what you're going to do "when you grow up"? Do they just not get your dreams? Well, we suggest introducing them to Artist To Watch Hoodie Allen -- an East Coast rapper who has tackled career paths both impractical and practical with equal fervor (and success).

Yup, this dude has had both a job your parents would salivate over -- and one that would would cause them to weep. Allow us to explain while you simultaneously become as obsessed with Hoodie as we are (not possible -- but we'll watch you try).

Who He Is

In the past, Google has famously allowed its employees 20% of their work week to pursue special projects. Well, we're guessing we know how rapper and former Google employee Steve "Hoodie Allen" Markowitz spent that time -- perhaps working on the beats that led to him to leave the tech lifestyle once and for all?

The 26-year-old Long Island native started working at the tech company in 2010, leaving in 2011 to fully pursue his musical dream, which he had been simultaneously fostering in college at University of Pennsylvania and while working at Google. You know, because toiling away at one of the biggest tech giants in the world wasn't stressful enough.

After a string of mixtapes, his official EP, All American, dropped in 2012, hitting #10 on the Billboard 200, with his debut record, People Keep Talking, coming out in October of 2014. That record nabbed the #8 spot.

In part, Hoodie owes his success to his fiercely dedicated Hoodie Mob, a group of fans that he has built over the years with help from his passion and tech skills alike. For example, the rapper scored an O Music Award nomination for Most Extreme Fan Outreach after promising to call and thank every fan who purchased All American.

Given his recent designation as Artist To Watch, we're guessing he has a few more "thank you" calls to make...

What You Should Listen To

Oh, this is a tough one -- dude has been making music forever and all of it is worth a check out.

As we said, Hoodie has a ton of mixtapes -- in addition to his official releases -- but you should definitely stream the track "You Are Not A Robot," which samples Marina and the Diamonds, off of his mixtape Pep Rally, and BLAST "Nolan Ryan" (because it's a kind of a diss track, which is always fun).

Finally, his Ed Sheeran collaboration, "All About It," is definitely on the top of the to-listen list -- if only for the whacked-out music video.

Lucky for you, we have a live version of the latter track right up there, and the video down yonder.

Why You Should Listen

Why? Well, for starters, Hoodie hustles his ass off -- and he does so without being cliched. Sure, Hoodie worked for Google. Sure, he's a techie dude. But he didn't go the obvious route when he made his entree into music -- he's didn't go nerdcore. He's tenacious, sarcastic, brash and swaggery. He's all those things and his tunes still manage to be FUN.

Plus...

He's Got Mad Game

Check out these moves.

What's Next

While we're all shivering our a$$e$ off in the clutches of that bastard Winter, Hoodie is already looking forward to Zummer -- The Boys of Zummer, that is. Hoodie is hitting the road as the opener for Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa's joint tour, kicking off on June 10 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey. Hit up one of the stops and become part of the Hoodie Mob for real.

Oh, and maybe bring those doubtful 'rents?

BONUS

When it comes to the inside info, we got you! We had Hoodie fill out this very important questionnaire (by hand!) -- just for you. Check it!