Hoodie Allen has been very excitingly promoting his latest record. He made that easier on himself by giving it a name that promotes itself: "The Hype." He was likely speaking of the time it took to build up to a new album for the Long Island rapper. While it's been a while since his "All-American" breakout, Hoodie Allen has kept the adoring fan base satisfied throughout the years and will continue to in perpetuity. But he doesn't quite try "Something Dangerous" on his new record, leaving an unmemorable gap in his discography.

About 'The Hype'

"The Hype" is the third studio album from Hoodie Allen ("People Keep Talking" and "Happy Camper" were the first two).

After some build-up, the record was released on September 29, 2017.

On social media - where the Hoodie Mob lives - Hoodie Allen talked a lot about how much the album means to him. By far, the biggest strength of the rapper his is genuine ability to connect with his fans. He could sit on his hands and seemingly the entire world would be promoting "The Hype" in his absence - it's just what they do. As a self-professed Hoodie Allen fan from the same parts of Long Island as him, I get it.

Failing to match 'The Hype'

But that doesn't mean every record can reinvent the wheel. With "The Hype," it feels like there's something missing. It's not that there's a ton of bad music on the 12-song album - most of the songs are fine.

But there's no standout track, no "No Faith in Brooklyn" or "Champagne and Pools."

A lot of the album feels like reruns of the past. There are parts of "Believe," "All for Me," and "Runnin' Circles" that sound like an old piece of the Hoodie Allen catalog. Maybe that's why the name of the last song words - if you're running in circles, you're never truly pushing forward.

The songs from the past work, but they could've been left there.

The one song that felt a lot different didn't quite work either. "Fakin" features some strong lyricism from both Hoodie Allen and Washington D.C. rapper Wale. But the dark underbelly doesn't work for "The Hype." Neither does the immense use of autotune submitted by Hoodie Allen.

As "The Hype" goes on, it picks up some much-needed energy, a good sign when so many records tend to fade away and dissipate into dust. The energy level feels palpable on "All My Friends," which features State Champs. Meanwhile, a familiar refrain plays during "Mad," but at least it's delivered with a bright inflection.

Features are also well-utilized on "The Hype." Hoying (of Pentatonix fame) lent credibility with his voice. Wale lent credibility with his style. State Champs and Goody Grace (quickly) did their thing.

Hoodie Allen to the rescue

The shining example of success on "The Hype" is "Sushi." For some, the track may sound like nonsensical musings about everything from the New York Jets to ISIS.

But the chaos of the song is what makes it enjoyable - it's unpredictability.

That's when Hoodie Allen is at his best - when he's simply having fun on the track without worries of trying to please his fans or fit in with the mainstream rap culture. He works as an artist because he's different, with an ease that makes him seem like a man of the people, rather than the many musicians who claim to be just that, only to fall short.

More of that needed to be evident on "The Hype." Hoodie Allen's famously independent, but something about this album felt like him reaching out to mainstream music with a request to pull him in before it tries to eat him alive. My bet is that his constant touring and other projects keep him comfortably afloat - that fierce independence needs to win the day (or at least seem like it's winning the day).

Final thoughts

"The Hype" is not bad. It just isn't Hoodie Allen at his best. There are positive spins to be had, but no song that's going to make the more hesitant fan upgrade their Spotify account. Perhaps it really is an album just for the fans. That's good fan service, but it doesn't move the needle. Or live up to "The Hype."

Best Song: "Sushi" - So much fun, so many references!

Worst Song: "Fakin" (feat. Wale) - Too dark in tone, too much autotune.

Rating: B-