While some might be tempted to write Roth off as a novelty act or cult favorite, Roth puts in the necessary work to prove otherwise. If you were lucky enough to get a copy of The Greenhouse Effect, Roth’s debut mixtape project, complete with an assist from DJ Drama and Don Cannon, you know what I’m talking about. Roth demolishes instrumentals for “Black Mags” by the Cool Kids, and “Cannon” by DJ Drama among others, putting his own creative spin on each.
The second single off of the actual album “Asleep In The Bread Aisle” is “Lark On My Go-Kart”, which comes off like a psychedelic stream of consciousness with Mario Kart and Saved by the Bell references over production that sounds like a hip-hop video game. Though Roth’s nasal voice and slightly over-pronounced delivery has drawn him some obvious comparisons to Eminem, but this comparison doesn’t do Roth justice. There are vocal similarities, but Roth’s college-boy sensibilities and alternative influences set him apart in his own lane. I would even put him closer to Kanye West or Kid Cudi musically.
The first single off of the album was “I Love College”, a frat-house ode to beer, pizza, marijuana, and higher education. In the same vein, “Blunt Cruisin'”, Roth’s tribute to the suburban pasttime of driving with weed, delviers a feel-good vibe that isn’t usually found in hip-hop today (think Pharcyde, Beasti Boys or De La Soul).”Lion’s Roar”, which features Busta Rhymes over what sounds like a Moby track, was in the words of Randy Jackson “just a’ight for me, dog”. Though Roth’s flow is effortlessly and the frenetic energy level is consisten throughout, the lackluster Busta verse leaves a lot to be desired and the hokey chorus keeps it from being a track I will want to play too often. “Perfectionist” is an awkward collaboration with Beanie Sigel and Rock City, where after Ash’s verse, the song seems to become a whole different song. The chorus kills the potential of the track, with Rock City’s lazy hook unfortunately sounding like everything else on the radio.
It’s clear Asher Roth is at his best when left to his own devices, which says a lot nowadays when every artist features at least one other artist on every other track. He specifically shines on his more introspective tracks like the political tirade”Sour Patch Kids”, the motivational “La Di Da”, and the soulful, family-friendly “His Dream”. Overall, this is a rock-solid debut with a lot of range from an artist who refuses to fit the mold of what is expected of a hip-hop artist, and with good reason. On “Asleep in the Bread Aisle”, Asher Roth gives a voice to hip-hop heads who happen to be from the ‘burbs and still doesn’t alienate the backpackers and anyone else who appreciates authenticity.