Keep that age-old rule in mind when you take my advice of giving 26-year-old rapper and Pennsylvania native Asher Roth another chance.
Roth does not deserve that much blame for his critically-acclaimed, commercial hit “I Love College”, which sold over 1 million downloads in 12 weeks. The single spoke more for the person Roth was at the time. He was a budding artist who left West Chester University to pursue music.
Many critics deemed Roth’s first album “Asleep in the Bread Aisle” as just a commercial summer CD designated for frat houses.
The April 20 release, college-party based music videos and “I Love College” single was a testimony of good marketing to a targeted audience by Scooter Braun, the former vice president of marketing for So So Def Recordings and the man who discovered Roth.
If you would ask anyone if they have grown as a person since 2009, I am guessing a majority of them would say they have in some way. Roth’s growth from early 2009 was apparent on the release of his EP, with underground rapper/producer Nottz Raw, wittily titled “The Rawth EP.”
Roth proved he truly found his style on “The Rawth EP.” He continued to connect to the audience that relates to him so easily, but in a way where he asks you to grow as a person just like he did as an artist.
On the track “Nothing You Can’t Do,” Roth asks, “But without all the bills in the mail, what would you do if you could not fail?”
It was not long after “The Rawth EP” dropped that Roth announced in an interview he would be releasing a mixtape titled “Pabst & Jazz.” “Pabst & Jazz” was composed of three days worth of sessions he recorded with Chicago production duo Blended Babies and contains numerous underground features.
“Pabst & Jazz” is exactly what it sounds like—a beer and some smooth horns over some even smoother basslines. The lyrical roller coaster Roth takes you on over jazzy beat after jazzy beat is a lot to digest on the first listen. After a few replays and rewinds, you can see that Roth’s talent is undeniable with a style unmatched in today’s sometimes depressing state of hip-hop.
Roth’s best attribute is his ability to accept who he is and to connect with his audience by just being real. Roth advocates honesty by using the sampled chorus in the song “Hard Times,” as it sings, “My mother told me never to tell, a dirty old lie…just to get ahead.”
I recommend and endorse Roth’s “Pabst & Jazz” mixtape, but I almost feel wrong not calling it an album with the originality that oozes from start to finish.