Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome! Emcee of January 2011: Asher Roth

Hello Everyone!

So here it is, my blog. I’m not quite sure where it’s headed, but I’m fairly certain of how I’d like it to begin. My hope is to inspire discovery and discussion of emcees and hip hop artists that happen to catch the attention of myself and/or the greater hip hop community. Each month I’ll post a new artist, and each week I’ll highlight a song, album, or performance from the artist that I feel may have musical or performative significance. Also, whatever gets posted will probably be DOPE! Hopefully, there will be a healthy, robust, and productive conversation that may lead to some level of enrichment or enlightening for all those concerned. I don’t think there can ever be too much of that, do you?

Now, I don’t plan on sticking to the topic all the time. Throughout the course of a month, we all have an innumerable amount of engaging and stimulating experiences that may or may not be related to who we think we are. So there will probably be many occasions in which I will post something that will have little to nothing to do with hip hop, and I think that’s okay. I hope you will be compelled to participate in those discussions as well!

And PLEASE feel free to bring anything to my attention that you feel may be relevant. I’ll also be incredibly grateful if you correct me when I’m wrong. I can’t catch it all!

With that, allow me to present my very first Emcee of the Month: Asher Roth.

You think I’m outta my mind, don’t you?

Well, lemme tell you something…

This kid is nice. I’ve always thought so.

Perhaps you had a slight scrunch of the mouth or wince in the eye when you first heard his single “I Love College” in the spring of 2009. When I stumbled upon Asher on the radio while I was living in Louisiana at the time, my first thoughts were, “White kid. He's nice. Not Eminem. One hit. Case closed,” and I never really thought much of him after that.

Not that I didn’t think he had talent, but rather that hip hop doesn’t seem to be able to support more than one or two high profile “novelty” (non-Black and/or non-male) artists at a time. (I’ve put novelty in quotes because I don’t believe in its validity.) And it seemed to me that the “I Love College” single was an attempt not to solidify Asher as a credible artist as much as it was an attempt to corner market share already occupied by Eminem. Therefore, that single didn’t really do Asher’s artistry any justice.

Nevertheless, shame on me for not digging further until now.

A few weeks ago my good friend and go-to homie for all things new in hip hop, DJ Black Daniels of Atlanta’s 5 Star Generals, put me on to the new album You Need This Music by Virginia incredi-producer Nottz. As I’m listening I come upon track 10 “Dontcha Wanna Be (My Neighbor)” featuring Colin Munroe and…you guessed it…Asher Roth. Nottz is not the kind of artist who wouldn't have any pretenders or fly-by-night emcees on his album, so this collaboration piqued my interest to find out more about Mr. Roth.

In addition to numerous interviews and freestyles Asher’s done two mixtapes,Seared Foie Gras with Quince and Cranberry and The Greenhosue Effect, the latter of which was guided by DJ Drama and Don Cannon who put together this little project called Gangsta Grillz. (By the way, I’m looking for BOTH of these now, so get at me if you’ve got it!) Furthermore his upcoming album The Spagetti Tree, which is scheduled for release sometime this year, will offer further collaboration with Nottz, along with The Game, Pharrell, and Swizz Beats. Recently, Asher Roth and Nottz released The Rawth EP which I will be checking as soon as I’m done with this post.

And as for the Eminem comparison; yes, Asher and Em may have similar dialect patterns and vocal resonances, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard Slim rhyme or perform with Asher’s ease or malleability. Em likes to push against tracks, Ash seems to prefer moving with them.

At any rate, Asher Roth is definitely making his own lane.

Check out his Hot97 freestyle with Funkmaster Flex from June 25, 2009.


1 comment:

  1. Okay, so, again, this kid makes me think of Robin Thicke if Robin Thicke would rap. I agree with you that he is more in sync with the music than Em's rhymes are. Not that I'm hating on Em, he's good at his own style, but if he would try something like this it just wouldn't work. He also makes me think of artists like Digable Planets. I think this kid could rap to a Michael Buble song and it would be the tightest thing on the radio.