Thursday, April 16, 2009

Album Review: Asher Roth 'Asleep In The Bread Aisle'

Sometime ago in the not so distant past, I came across a link to some freestyles by a new rapper with a strange name that I've never heard of before, just another dude trying to break into the hip-hop game. I was always on the hunt for new music so I decided to give it a listen and maybe give some feedback. This particular dude had some good people cosigning him, artists whose music I grew up with and DJ's I admired. Upon pressing play I soon realized that this guy was on a whole 'nother level and his lyrical style and delivery was amazing. He literally killed every beat was on, one would say that he killed other rappers on their own shit. I was compelled to find out more about the guy and much to my surprise I found out that the new rapper was some white dude from the cold north. His name is Asher Paul Roth.

Asher is somewhat of an anomaly, he just seemed to appear out of nowhere. He claims to be a rapper but he looks more like a skinny Hollister model. Almost immediately he was accepted by some of the most respected hip-hop heavyweights, even dropping an exclusive mixtape hosted by two of the most recognized DJ's in the business, Don Cannon and DJ Drama. But this is not VH1's White Rapper Show, Asher Roth is no gimmick. He raps with a passion and delivery that I haven't heard since that other white rapper from up north came on the scene. But that comparison ends there because on his debut album 'Asleep In The Bread Aisle' Asher shows the people why he's in a class of his own.

From the very first song 'Lark on My Go-Kart' Asher displays his amazing lyrical ability and unique flow. He's not the typical rapper, one who defers to conventional overutilized subjects to entertain. Asher talks about what he wants to talk about and trusts the listener to follow along with him. He's raps like he's just having a conversation with a homeboy, just kickin' it, which is also displayed on 'I Love College' a track that took me back to the days that I was at UAB just hanging out, going to class (sometimes), and chillin' with my friends.

'La Di Da' produced by Don Cannon is a fantastic display of skill and gets me so pumped that head nodding is not enough to express how much I'm feelin' it. It's like being front and center at the concert jumping up and down singing along to the hook. On 'Be By Myself' Asher is accompanied by the legendary Cee-Lo who makes anything sound like feel good down home soul. It's a feel good song in which Asher is rapping about his favorite subject: Girls. He goes in about how he is just not ready to settle down, regardless of how much she may want him too, even if he may want it as well. The concept is done so well that a dude could incorporate it into his game and almost get away with it.

In 'As I Em' Asher talks about those pesky Eminem comparisons that has plagued him ever since he hit the scene. Accompanied by Chester French Asher expresses the frustration that he feels about having to defend and set himself apart from his compatriot. And really if you didn't have a visual reference between the two of them, it would be easy for the non discerning listener to think that the two were one in the same. The comparison is a valid one, but honestly to me Asher reminds me of a early Dante Bezé more so than Marshall Mathers.

Another one of my favorites 'Lions Roar' (about girls) featuring Busta Rhymes a track so beautifully raunchy that it brings out my inner misogynist, not that that's hard to do. Channeling Akinelye with a bit of Twista thrown in, Asher shows off more of his hilarious lyrical talent which is followed by a not so great turn by Busta, but that doesn't take anything away from it, there's always the remix.

Then there's 'His Dream' a self reflection joint in which Asher spits with the kind of soul and consciousness that I've been longing for since the days of Blackstar. I really can't coherently express how this track touches me because it's a song that is very personal to him and the listener and I commend him for putting it out there. Asher talks about the struggles and the desire that a man goes through in order to be a good provider and father. Asher expounds 'Sometimes the dream is all that we have, we have to continue to dream/Cause once it is lost amongst other thoughts then what really are we?/What are we?' The track then lingers and then goes into the last verse which is very powerful and moving.

I could go on and on about each track, and while it is a great album, it is without it debut pitfalls. There are a couple of tracks that could be skipped after a couple listens, like the Jazze Pha assisted 'Bad Day' or the obligatory but catchy club joint 'She Don't Wanna Man' but still that doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment of it. With Asher's skillful lyrics and solid production, 'Asleep In The Bread Aisle' is a dope debut and with it Asher has successfully solidified himself as an artist all to himself, without further comparison to those that came before him. Asher quite simply put, is the future.


JayTeeDee gives Asher Roth 'Asleep in the Bread Isle' 6.5 out of 7 Head Nods


Head Nod Scale
1=Don't waste your time like I did mine.
2=Waste your time like I did mine but I dare you to disagree.
3=Well, there was the single.
4=If it were a hand in spades there's "two and a possible".
5=It's a "good" album. Meaning at least 3 or 4 solid songs.
6=Really Good Project. Has the "Rewind Factor" more than once.
7=The number of completion. Great Album. Instant Classic.

1 Comments:

Anonymous lovedeluxe said...

will have to definitely revisit Asher's music. thanks for the insight :)

April 20, 2009 at 12:32 PM  

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