Rapper Hoodie Allen found it difficult to balance both his full-time job at Google and his up-and-coming hip-hop fame, so he picked one.
“I have been making music since I was 13, so it was kind of obvious to me,” says the New York-based rapper.
Allen, 21, who built his own success as a YouTube phenom, roping in more than a million views on his single “You Are Not a Robot” during his senior year of college, says he sees his move as a business venture.
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“There is a lot of reinvestment and believing in what you do,” he says.
Allen says he grew up on De La Soul and has more recently been letting his love of indie rock influence his poppy beats. He has fully funded his new career, putting money down for music videos, free mixtapes and tours. But he says it has paid off. As an independent artist, he has complete creative control and as he says, “That’s hard to put a price on.”
Currently on tour, Allen is celebrating the release of his album “Leap Year,” and making his way to the area tonight to headline at the Middle East. He sold out the upstairs venue in Cambridge and was moved to the downstairs stage for tonight’s show.
“I had a great experience last time I was here,” says Allen. “I’m a New York kid, so you don’t know how you’ll get received. But the crowd was awesome and I assume it will be better this time around.”
Allen says he spends more hours each week at his new job as an emcee than he ever did at Google, where he had the title of AdWords Associate — which means he managed a portfolio of advertiser accounts. But even with the busier work schedule, he doesn’t regret the decision.
“Music trumps all,” he says.
Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.