Hoodie Allen (whose real name is Steve Markowitz) isn't your average rapper—he’s also a former Penn student that used to stroll down Locust Walk like the rest of us. As an undergraduate, Markowitz (W ‘10) was a member of the Sprint Football team and a brother in the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity while working on a budding rap career. He got a job at Google post–graduation, later decided to quit to pursue a full–time career in music, and hasn’t looked back since—he’s released multiple charting albums and EPs in the past decade. Given his time at Penn, let’s take a look at his relationship with the university where he studied and began his rise to success.
November 2008: Interviewed by Street
Back during his junior year at Penn, Street sat down with Markowitz to explore his hip–hop ambitions. Hoodie Allen was still a duo at the time, consisting of Markowitz on vocals and childhood friend Samuel Obey on production. The rapper noted that his Penn degree would help him “zero percent” in the rap world and added that people “should come to my shows because they’re the most revolutionary experience known to man.”
November 2009: Set at SPEC–TRUM Fall Concert
As a senior, Markowitz performed alongside Obey at the Zellerbach Theater in a concert lineup that also included Clipse, Big Sean, and Mike Posner. The duo played songs from their debut mixtape, Making Waves, and Markowitz emphasized that “in this college environment, it’s nice to have students rally around one of their peers.”
2010–2013: Some social media shout-outs
Post–graduation, Markowitz stayed in touch with his Penn roots through social media posts, whether it be visiting and sharing merchandise, hoping to see students at Philadelphia shows, partying at Blarney Stone, or questioning if he could get into a frat party.
February 2012: Profile in The Pennsylvania Gazette
In a profile for the Penn alumni magazine, Markowitz discussed quitting his job at Google as his hip–hop career began to blossom, the value of a Wharton class he took, Interactive Media Marketing, and his general approach to social media as an artist. The rapper also mentioned how a summer program in screenwriting prompted his early decision application to Penn, as he believed that a Wharton education was “something practical to prepare for the future.”
October 2014: Daily Pennsylvanian article on the release of his debut album
Around the release of his debut album, People Keep Talking, the Daily Pennsylvanian ran a piece in anticipation of the record, while also noting that he would be performing in Philadelphia later that November. Markowitz stated “I love to come hang out at Penn” and “force my band members to try Bui’s [Lunch Truck] and Allegro [Pizza and Grill].”
March 2015: Discusses Woodie Award nomination with the Daily Pennsylvanian
In phone conference that also included the duo of Rae Sremmurd, Markowtiz discussed his experiences with music and his nomination for an MTV Woodie Award, where college students vote on their favorite music. When asked how his degree has served him in the music industry, the rapper said “the thing that translated most was the way I look at the world and the way I’m able to think my about myself as a business.”
November 2018: Participates in career and life advice discussion at Huntsman Hall
Recently, Markowitz stopped by Huntsman Hall to participate in a discussion moderated by former Wharton professor Suzanne Diamond. The rapper spent some time analyzing the value of his college experience, highlighting that he “learned to be a team member in Management 100” and that he “still uses concepts” from Interactive Marketing. He also mentioned his favorite Penn memories, which included making a tackle for Sprint Football against Princeton and performing at the Quad during Spring Fling, both during his senior year. To conclude his talk, Markowitz said “I love Penn, Penn’s awesome.”
There you have it—a timeline of Hoodie Allen’s relationship with Penn. As of right now, there hasn’t been any mention of Markowitz’s next return to his alma mater—in the meantime he plans on touring Europe. Until then, let’s put “UPenn Girls” on repeat.