Review Summary: OH MY GOD! DUDE! HE SAID COLLEGE! I'M IN COLLEGE! I'M TOTALLY BUYING THIS ALBUM!
Asher Roth is on the rap warpath.
Strapped with an LL Bean button-down and a half-full Solo cup, Roth reps straight outta Morrisville, Philadelphia, which is as dangerous as... well... as dangerous as a skinny white kid strapped with a LL Bean button-down and a half-full Solo cup would seem to you. But if it makes him any tougher, the kid loves his weed. Helps, right?
Amidst the smoke, all you might notice is the Spring '09 Semester anthem "I Love College", at best a mellow peppy prep tune all co-ed stoners can drink to as well- I mean it's got all the essential sing-along lyrics needed: "Drink my beer!" "Smoke my weed!" "Chug!" "Freshman!" "Do something crazy!" "Keg stand!" C'mon... seriously? Can't get no better than that.
Realistically, it comes off as a little more than a "Crank Dat Soulja Boy", far more developed in lyrics and production, but just as annoying and radio-friendly in it's loathingly simple message and delivery. And after all that smoke clears, if you're a pot-smokin drink-sippin greek kid, there's no way you're not taking a listen to Asleep In The Bread Aisle
, the sort-of-anticipated debut from another white rapper who sounds too much like Eminem but still looks too much like the kid next door... which together may be just what's so intriguing.
Recently featured in XXL's Hip-Hop Class of 2009, Roth has been getting praise from all over: rappers such as Jay-Z and Andre 3000 have given him praise, his album boasts assists from Busta Rhymes, Keri Hilson, and Jazze Pha, and the blogosphere, Facebookers and Tweeters are all a fussin'. Regardless, the album itself isn't terrible, but it's not really noteworthy either- its a collection of almost all drum/cymbal/tambourine/guitar hip-hop on which Asher raps about his favorite things. They're some of the most random things ever rapped about- from Saved By The Bell's Kelly Kapowski to masturbation to womanizing to being stuck on an airplane. And for the most part, you can't see why you'd care.
Give the kid credit- like all the rest, he's rapping about what he knows. But as a college dropout (IRONY!), he just... doesn't seem to know very much. The album is boosted by it's decent production, and Asher's flow is sophisticated- but there's not much you get out of the album. "La Di Da" is some of the best of the mediocrity: it's head-knock-worthy with an great beat and simple message: when you can't take it, ef it. Just smoke some weed or something.
"Lion's Roar" is the hardest of them all: it's where he sounds LEAST like Em, destroying a diverse percussion-rush of a beat, ending with Roth being shown up by Busta Rhymes. He's mostly shown up everywhere else, too: Pop duo Chester French give "As I Em" a boost as Asher rants about the constant Eminem comparisons, and Keri Hilson owns on "She Don't Wanna Man", flirty and fun but not club-worthy or note-worthy from Asher's end.
On his own, he fails to impress as the album goes on: "Lark On My Go-Kart" is chill video-game music, and "Sour Patch Kids" is cool, too. But the majority of the album is held back just because it sounds so similar throughout. It's an extremely acquired taste- as in it's strictly for those trend followers who thought "I Love College" was the great song since sliced bread, and then realized that there was sliced bread on the album cover and somehow, life just made sense. Bottom line? Bread Aisle, in it's majority, excels in complete nonchalance. He's got a way with words, admittedly, but has yet to develop much of anything worth a lengthier listen. Oh well. That's probably what all the weed is for.