Roth Not Sleeping, Nor Is He Average White Rapper

Andres Aguila

“Asleep in the Bread Aisle” is the debut album by the college shirt wearing emcee by the name of Asher Roth.

Roth’s background can be summed up in one sentence: he is a white ex-college student from a suburb in Pennsylvania who loves to party and has been named one of XXL Magazine’s Top 10 Annual Freshman for 2009.

Oh, and is also pretty good on the M-I-C.
But Roth is not your average white rapper from the suburbs who is trying to be something he is not. He is “just a kid who wants to rap to make a living.” And the way he tries to prove this is with his new album.

First of all, there’s the title: “Asleep in the Bread Aisle.”

Yes, it may sound a bit strange at first, but the title comes from a drunken tale of a guy who decided to take some medicine and go along with his friends to the supermarket.
Then all of a sudden, he is nowhere to be seen until his friends find him asleep in the bread aisle.

And it was when Roth heard this story that the album title was born.

The first song on the album is “Lark on my Go-Kart,” which brings that “boom-bap” every hip-hop fan wants to hear in a record. This is one of the best songs on the album and it is one of the few songs that have no singing on the hook! It is well produced by up and coming producer Oren Yoel, who produced a quantity of the songs in the album, and David Appleton.

Then there’s Roth’s most infamous song, “I Love College,” which came out around the summer of 2008, but still very good. It’s the new college anthem and even matches well when looking at old party pictures of friends getting drawn on and passed out on the balcony. The lyrics are very frat-party orientated and the beat, which is produced by Mike Carren and Ben Allen, is a beat that even the non-hip-hop lover will surely enjoy. Good sample usage from Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” as well.

“I can’t tell you what I learned from school/ but I can tell you a story or two.”
Be prepared to move a body part of some sort to these next two songs.

“Be By Myself” is a hot song featuring Cee-Lo, from Goodie Mob and as well as the other half of the duo Gnarls Barkley. The song is about Roth not wanting to be tied up by any girl, even though he does end up with one in the end of the song. And if it weren’t for Cee-Lo, this song would just be a mediocre song a fan might just skip to get to the next song. But thanks to Cee-Lo, the song is indeed strong enough to even be Roth’s next single.

The song “Lions Roar,” featuring Busta Rhymes also fits into the same category as “Be By Myself.” If it didn’t feature Busta Rhymes, the song will also be mediocre as well. Busta Rhymes brings nothing but fire! Just wish it had more Busta and less Roth because while Roth is very talented, Busta Rhymes just seems to outshine him in his own song.

The next song, “She Don’t Wanna Man,” also features another known artist by the name of Keri Hilson. It sounds like the kind of song the record label to fill in the “we need a song for the club and ladies” spot for the reason that it sounds like any rapper could have done this song and how much it is targeted to the women. The lyrics seem too popish and while Hilson does sing well, the song just seems to ruin her talent.

Along with that song, there was also the track entitled “Bad Day,” featuring Jazze Pha, where Roth raps about a bad day he had while traveling to his friend’s wedding and comes across some bad luck including: sitting next to a big guy on the plane, a crying baby and even forgetting his iPod. Oh the horror!

The song is not terrible, but it’s also not the best. It’s a funny song someone will just want to hear once and that’s it! The beat is banging and the song just may remind fans of a certain Saturday Night Live rap song featuring Adam Sandberg entitled “Jizz in My Pants.”

Now, since there have been comparisons between Eminem and Asher Roth, one may think Roth would just want to drop the subject and move on, but then out of left field comes the song “As I Em,” featuring Chester French.
In the song, Roth shares his feelings on being compared to Eminem and how no one should get him twisted because he is not trying to be like anyone else but himself. And while the song is predictable of Roth, it’s still very excellent with a reggae kind of feel to it.

The lyrics are strong and help bring a good argument to those who might think he is just trying to steal Eminem’s style. And once again, Oren Yoel and David Appleton do a fantastic job on the production side.
“I just want to be accepted as the illest in the game/ but it’s harder for an artist creating his own lane.”

Then while getting towards the end, there are songs that show the non-party; sensitive and history of Roth.

In the song “His Dream,” Roth tells a story of his father and how he had to give up his dream in order to take care Roth and his family. It’s a tribute song to not only his father, but to all those fathers who drop everything in order to take care of their family. It’s a slow mellow song, with a great beat to go along with the detailed lyrics and that paint a picture in the listener’s head.

“Fallin'” is the next track which shows Roth’s relationship with music and how he started to get interested in hip-hop. The song is well produced by Novel and the use of the sample of Ben Kweller’s “Falling” is right on the mark. And while the song may be called “Fallin,'” it shows a very uplifting side to Roth’s character. It’s a very notable song with no flaws at all.

“My friend said ‘homie, you know that you’re white dude?’/ I said ‘what for real? Oh. It’s all good!'”

In the end, the thing that has to be realized is that Asher Roth is an emcee that is under no category but his own. He has a lot of talent under his belt and will certainly be known to more than the average hip-hop fan sooner than later.

His lyrics may not be the strongest in some of the songs, they are however still impressive.

There’s only one bad song that should have never seen the light of day, “She Don’t Wanna Man,” but the rest of the album is still good compared to what else is out in stores.

Oren Yoel did a fantastic job doing most of the production work and will for sure be getting more work thanks to this album.
And yes, it would have been nice to hear more songs like “I Love College” and “Fallin'” but it’s still a very fun and fresh album that needs to be heard.

My rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5