Allen also chatted with Billboard at Sundance 2015 to discuss collaborating with Ed Sheeran on the song “All About It,” his thoughts on the recent controversies surrounding Azalea, and releasing a new mixtape in time for his upcoming tour with Fall Out Boy.
Last year, the rapper released his first full-length studio effort, People Keep Talking, which arrived at No. 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
“It’s very different to have a first real proper release, compared to distributing mixtapes online,” Allen tells Billboard. “The most awesome feeling to me was going to Best Buy or Target and actually seeing my album in there. And then rearrange them and put my album in front of everyone else’s album.”
Allen also discussed his collaboration with Sheeran on “All About It.” “I’ve known Ed for a really long time. We’ve always been buddies and every time he’s in New York we hang out,” he says. “We’d never made music before and he said, ‘Hey, why don’t you go in the studio.’ So we got to go to the studio one night and knocked out that song. We finished the whole song in four hours. And eight months later after tweaking the beat nonstop, we had the final version and we knew it was going to make the album.”
The conversation later turned to the recent controversies surrounding Azalea in recent months. “There’s criticism for anyone who gets the sort of success quickly that she has. You saw the same thing with Macklemore too,” Allen says. “Just brush it off. Shake if off, Taylor Swift style.”
Next up, Allen will serve as the opener for Fall Out Boy’s upcoming North American tour, beginning June 10. The rapper says he hopes to offer fans a mixtape in time for the trek.
“I’m going to try to put together a free mixtape for that Fall Out Boy tour, so that new fans and old fans can enjoy a new batch of music — even though People Keep Talking is pretty new,” he says. “In the Internet age everything goes really quickly and people want new stuff fast.”