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Asher Roth, My Sophomore Year

A year removed from being a member of XXL’s 2009 Freshman class, Asher Roth is still the same college-loving, weed smoking, free-spirited MC—he’s just a bit wiser. (Let’s just say the Morrisville, Pennsylvania rapper has learned from his Twitter mishaps.) Since his freshman year, Asher has released his debut disc, Asleep In The Bread Aisle, and toured alongside fellow ’09 Freshman alum Kid Cudi. With his current mixtape Seared Foie Gras With Quince And Cranberry feeding fans more of his playful, feel good hip-hop, Roth brings up to speed on life after the Freshman cover, the latest on his still-untitled sophomore album, and offers up some words of wisdom for to current crop of Freshman. How have things been for you in the first year following your appearance on XXL’s 2009 Freshmen cover?

Asher Roth: You know, I dropped Asleep in the Bread Aisle and then we went on tour around the world. I hit up Europe pretty hard… Just finished with Pharrell for 12 days. We were in Miami just dickin’ around, just being a bunch of assholes and making some really dope fun music for the new album. Is there a title for the new album yet?

Asher Roth: I’m not going to release the title yet, just ’cause you know I want people to take in Seared Foie Gras With Quince And Cranberry for a couple months before I get them excited about the album. But, you know, working with Pharrell and Chad was a blast. I mean genuinely good, good people who are doing it for the right reasons. I was just out in Chicago working with my friends Twan and Evan, better known as Chuck and Mike of the Cool Kids. The next on the list is my man Q-Tip and go chop it up with him and just go make some dope music. How much of an impact did being one of XXL’s 2009 Freshmen cover have on your career?

Asher Roth: It definitely had an impact. In a way, especially right now where our generation has become kind of desensitized to radio. It’s kind of like when we hear our stuff on the radio it’s really not the same because we’ve been hearing it on the Internet whenever it’s streamed X amount of times before it even hits radio… But magazines, XXL still holds integrity in the hip-hop world and is still something you own and possess. It’s one of those accomplishments that people see. It’s right in front of their face. It kind of legitimizes you, if you will, but definitely doesn’t mean the hard work is over. You know what I mean. It just means the work starts then. Did you immediately grasp the meaning of the accomplishment when you first got the news that you’d made the list?

Asher Roth: I think the cover of anything is very much a nod of approval. Everyone should be proud of that. Especially the new freshman, and everyone who came before it. It’s definitely an accomplishment, but like I said, I definitely don’t think that means you really accomplished anything. Just because you’re on the cover of something doesn’t mean your job is over. It means that you better start proving yourself and why you’re there. Speaking of proving your worth. Did you receive any extra attention because you were the only White rapper on the cover?

Asher Roth: Nah, I mean obliviously you know it’s undeniable, hip-hop is Black music, but I’m not the first White rapper. So of course there is a slight backlash from different people who are hating, but for the most part curiosity was the main thing. Like, “Oh, man, this friggin’ White boy is on the cover. I wonder what he’s about?” So I think it was a great opportunity give me and everyone a foundation. Any fond memories of the photo shoot for the Freshmen cover. You were kind of the guy that broke the ice last year with the brews and cookies.

Asher Roth: You know I’ve never been one to like hate off the bat. It’s always like let’s give somebody the benefit of the doubt. And that’s what I just kind of ask for in return. So with that, at the XXL shoot we just… It was me and Curren$y, we rolled something up. We rolled up a couple joints, everybody had a couple beers and we just sat around and chatted. I really think that it was a special moment. Yeah, Wiz Khalifa played that role at the photo shoot for the 2010 class.

Asher Roth: Yeah, that makes so much sense man, ’cause Wiz, Curren$y and myself all kind of have the same vibe. I can’t speak on behalf of any of the other classes, but I feel strongly just being in that room and seeing the types of personalities I feel strongly that the Freshmen of ’09 is going to play a pivotal role in the next few years. Is there an artist from the ’09 class you’re personally rooting for, aside from yourself of course?

Asher Roth: I would say Blu. This kid is so talented. I think to a fault he doesn’t care so much that it hurts him sometimes but for the most part I respect that man’s opinion. He doesn’t talk much, he listens. And that to me is a very enviable quality of a man. And yeah, man, B.o.B., too. That kid is so eccentric, from listening to his music, I didn’t think B.o.B was going to be so smiling and warm as he is. He’s a really kind soul. Any favorites on the 2010 Freshmen class?

Asher Roth: I’ve had an opportunity to speak to Wiz and I’m rooting real hard for Wiz. I think his personality is going to help him just due to the fact he’s loose, he’s fun, he’s just trying to have a good time. Just smoke some weed and say some shit. So I’m rooting for Wiz, and a lot of the other guys I haven’t been able to meet. I know J. Cole has a lotta potential, so I’m rooting for him. But for the most part I’m rooting for everybody. I just want them to use their powers for good. Any particular advice you would give them on what to do after this experience?

Asher Roth: I just hope everybody uses the opportunity to have a good time, because this is it. Like you know when I was talking about how much I loved college ’cause I really did. Those are the best years of people’s lives. To be free and to really start to grow up and really start to figure out who they are as a person. It’s the same thing with this opportunity, you know XXL is saying thank you and letting a lot of hard work pay off for a lot of these kids and giving them a platform so I just hope they use that platform for good and to just have a blast, man. And do it all with a smile on your face and realize we do legitimately have the best jobs in the world, man. Before you go, can we get a possible release date for you’re next album?

Asher Roth: Obviously it’s not completely up to me. I put out August 11, my birthday, just to put that in the universe, just to put that out there to see what happens. Hopefully we can have it a little earlier. Anybody that follows me knows that I like to make warm music. This is definitely a summer album. I hope people like four or five years from can be like, man, that album brings me back to the summer of 2010. —Rondell Conway

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