XXL’s Top 10 Freshman cover was an interesting one to say the least. While many questioned the somewhat unrecognizable faces that graced the cover, most praised the world’s greatest rap mag for showing love to underground favorites. Various blogsites debated over who did and didn’t belong on the historic cover, but in the end everyone had at least one cover guy that they were rooting for. Probably the most scrutinized out the bunch was Asher Paul Roth. The white boy on the front cover seemed to get tons of criticism and you guessed it, comparisons to Marshall.
The Asher Roth, Eminem comparisons got me to thinking on how we deal with race within hip-hop. Sure we embraced one white MC when he debuted almost a decade ago, but can Hip-hop handle the thought of two white rhyme spitters at the same time? Sure there is Paul Wall but when he was poppin Em was starting his retirement. We love to talk about how much Hip-hop has unified a generation, but yet still has trouble accepting white rappers (has anyone seen Shamrock?) Now with Mr. 8 Mile staging a comeback and Asher prepping his debut things will get real interesting. Will Em embrace Asher or dispose of him like he did Cage?
Then again can you even compare Asher Roth and Marshall? The new jack is a fun-loving, beer drinkin’, quirky rhyme animal. Em on the other hand was super angry, ultra aggressive and at times a little nuts. Does Asher sound like Em? Sure, you can hear the influence, but how many rappers out there sound like Jay-Z? Me personally, I’m not really sure of the answer, but I’m betting Asher wants Hip-hop respect based of his own merit and not because he shares the same skin color with one of rap’s GOATs. What do ya’ll think? – Rob the Music Ed