Although we’ve had mixed feelings about his music, Hoodie Allen seems like a great guy who’s pursuing what he loves. If you didn’t know, the 22-year-old left his job at Google to pursue music full time. From the beginning, one of the cornerstones of Pigeons and Planes has been that independent spirit – the willingness to give anything a shot – the willingness to step up and put passion and honesty above everything. Even in his emails, he comes across as a genuine person with his heart in the right place.

I began writing Leap Year when I decided to leave my job at Google and follow my passion. The thirteen track album is a look into my world and what it means to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted Leap Year to mirror my life and experiences–it’s fun, crazy, sarcastic, and introspective– its me growing up on record.

More often than not, a Hoodie Allen song leans towards the fun side of things, as indicated by the cover. Even his most introspective songs are sprinkled with pop culture references, one-liners, and wordplay that, while clever, seems a little out of place.

On Leap Year, it’s obvious that Hoodie’s production is better than ever, and he’s clearly sharpened his emceeing skills, adding some variations to his delivery and flow that can be appreciated at a more technical level. In many ways, he’s progressing and getting better with time, but while Hoodie is “growing up on record,” his coming of age story could use a few more pages.

Then again, maybe the young rapper is still writing his story. Maybe Hoodie Allen’s music is an accurate depiction of Hoodie Allen, the person, at this point in his life. I guess only Hoodie can judge that. Still, none of this overshadows the fact that Leap Year is his best work to date – an enjoyable, youthful summer mixtape.

Listen below, and if you like it you can download the whole thing at Hoodie’s official site.

Leap Year by Hoodie Allen

And if you haven’t seen the video for “The Chase Is On” yet, you can hit the jump to watch…