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Hoodie Allen | Whatever USA | Album Review

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Hoodie Allen is making waves yet again in the independent rapper territory with the release of his fourth studio album, Whatever USA. The record takes fans back to some of Allen’s first releases with nostalgic feeling, yet still contemporary sounding, tracks that are reminiscent of earlier mixtapes like Crew Cuts or Allen’s debut album All American

Whatever USA kicks off with the title track that intertwines R&B grooves and melodic themes with a hip-hop beat. The song progresses through various locations throughout the United States, but the chorus brings it back to the main theme of “It don’t matter where you came from / It just matters where you end up, if you end up with me.”

The record progresses through more wistful sounding tracks and features from other artists like Christian French or Gianni & Kyle before reaching the most notable songs on the LP. Mid-album, Allen introduces listeners to hip-hop/R&B ballad “You Should Let Me Know” that puts Allen’s singing skills to the test. The track is an ode to yearning for an ex-lover with a chorus that croons, “If you want it, you can have my heavy heart / You can put it back together, you can tear my limbs apart,” bringing a vibe and sound to the hip-hop scene that anyone—even infrequent listeners of rap—could enjoy. 

Immediately after, Allen brings the energy of the album back up with “Hometown Kid.” The track reminisces on where the rapper grew up and how the work of a musician is never over. While Allen typically provides tracks that are strong in lyrical value and are frequently much “deeper” than the typical rap song, as he does with “Hometown Kid,” he never falls short in the danceability of each track. 

Whatever USA produces such an array of tracks that any kind of listener could find something to like, while staying true to the genre that Allen experiments within, but still maintaining the perfect blend of sentimentality and contemporary sounds.

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