Review Summary: Less taste and texture than Wonderbread - continuously outshined by guest appearances and production.
Mario Kart, munchies, Madden, suburbs, Sublime-posturing, pre-pubescent socio-political musings… Asleep in the Bread Aisle
has all the ingredients for anthemic frat-party bro-hop. Raised in the suburbs (the far-outlying suburbs to be precise) of Philadelphia, Asher Roth paints a picture one would expect from homogeneous experiences and a biblically allusive name. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially when delving into the metaphysical or even the mildly interesting. Even then, some artists excel at making light, care-free party music – see pre-808
’s/ Louis Vitton Kanye for a good example. The thing is, Roth tries to do both here – but is by no means a renaissance man; instead, he recreates the very essence of Wonderbread through music.
Some rappers excel with a sludgy, down-tempo flow (see personal favorite Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox
), but the amateur inflection and lazy attitude prevailing throughout Bread Aisle
really emphasize Roth’s inadequacy. Riveting lines such as "I am champ-i-on, at beer pong, Allen Iver-son, Hakeem Olaju-won
" suggest a creative process involving 2 AM high freestyling. Speaking of “College”, he not only "can’t tell you what [he] learned from school
" (to the tune of collegiate-mutated Weezer), but foolishly suggests over-contraception in the form of multiple condoms… bringing virginity status to question. Unfortunately, Roth has verses in follow-up “Bad Day” (Jazze Pha’s chorus really isn’t that bad); leaving a really uncomfortable plane ride "in need of weed and boxer briefs, but [his] bag’s only got maxis
", one can only brace for the racism and misogyny to come at the end of the night in his hotel: "Right then there’s a knock at the door, it’s my last hope for a Spanish whore, who will change my sheets in exchange for penis. Jesus, this day is the worst.
" Jesus this song is the worst.
Rounding out the record with refuting comparison to Eminem (as if there was any question), an okay beat-and-hook in "Fallin" (but ruined by a Ben Kweller sample), and uninspired guest performances from Beanie Sigel and Busta (I don’t even remember what he said), Asher Roth’s pseudo-intellectual musing of “Sour Patch Kids” is truly memorable. Amidst an unfortunately Smashmouth-inspired, funk-rock-something beat, the fraternity audience is bombarded with generalities somewhat related to how the "poor get poorer, the rich just get richer
." But most incredibly, Roth’s discussion on world hunger and civil unrest proves most amusing: "We go hungry in our own country, I wonder what it’s like living in Hungary… [blah blah]… streets turn to a game of rugby
." I’m sorry Mr. Roth, but "Hungary" isn't the most convenient rhyme; living in Hungary isn’t that bad, and gang warfare isn’t like what you saw in “Gangs of New York” anymore.
Listen to the guest performances if you dare; just tune out the pedestrian rapping.