Somebody’s Cold One Is Giving Me Chills

So much ink, not to mention blood, has already been spilled on the hip-hop Internets re: Asher Roth, but this video that was just released, for his song “I Love College,” feels like the actual beginning of his career.

Watching it, I couldn’t help but be reminded of when Eminem blew up back in 1999. It was my last semester of high school. He’d been around for a couple of years at that point, and there wasn’t any indication that he’d go on to become one of the most popular rappers evar, even though though he’d been signed by Dr. Dre. Nobody had bought that dumbass Aftermath sampler Dre had put out, back when Suge had scared him away from making gangster rap. (Weak!)

I saw the video the very first time it came on MTV (I saw most of the shit that came on MTV in the ’90s), and I didn’t think anything of it. I thought the song itself was gay (it still is), and the video wasn’t anything I definitely needed to see again, though I figured I’d probably have to. The TIs were obviously behind it 102%. They must have known something that hadn’t been obvious to me at that point – that Eminem was about to blow the fuck up.

I showed up to school the next day, and mofos were walking around singing “My Name Is” as if it was actually a good song. Clearly, there was something about it that just didn’t resonate with me, maybe because I was black, or because I knew from good rap music. And the rest, as they say, is history. Eminem went on to be one of the best-selling rappers evar, right up there with 2Pac. He even made a number of songs I actually liked.

I wonder if Asher Roth will experience a similar career trajectory, or if he’ll ultimately be confined to the dustbin of history, along with the likes of Crazytown and LFO and what have you. Speaking of which, if you didn’t hear Rich Cronin from LFO on the Howard Stern Show the other day, you missed. He basically confirmed everything you ever thought about being in a boy band and dating Jennifer Love Hewitt (back when that meant something).

But I digress.

I can honestly say that I like the first Asher Roth song way more than I liked the first Eminem song, but I’m not sure what that means. A lot of its appeal lies in the fact that it draws on Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So,” from the Blue Album (arguably top 10 of all time, regardless of genre), and normally I’d wonder whether or not that would translate to kids who are 18 years old today, who probably can’t even remember when the Green Album was out, let alone the Blue Album (bear with me), but I know Weezer tends to appeal to a lot of young people, and also a lot of Chinese – both lucrative growth markets.

The rappin’, of course, is entirely unremarkable. Asher Roth lacks the chops to pull off an Eminem-like technical feat, but then the song doesn’t really call for that. Probably none of his songs will, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. But LFO had more memorable punchlines. The verses in “I Love College” just sort of take up the space between choruses.

I could be mistaken, but didn’t part of Eminem’s rise have to do with the fact that he was seen as having enough respect for rap music, a black form, to genuinely excel at it? That was what separated him from Vanilla Ice and any number of other lame-ass white rappers. Obviously, Asher Roth is never gonna have that going for him. Or are we past the point where it matters?

It was obvious to me, watching the video for “I Love College,” that Asher’s label isn’t even gonna bother trying to appeal to the black community. Hopefully, there isn’t a very strong backlash, like the one that’s already bit eskay, but they’re probably gonna try to sell him to white radio, similar to how you can still occasionally hear songs by House of Pain and the Beastie Boys on rock stations to this day.

If that’s the case, I’m not even sure if Eminem’s career trajectory would be an apt comparison, even though they sound remarkably similar, and Asher Roth would probably be my boss if he didn’t. A better example might be the Knux, who aren’t white per se, but they (just barely) know how to do more than just rudimentally strum a guitar, like Lil’ Wayne does. The Knux’ label is famously spending way more on them than they are on other rappers, who appeal primarily to black people and hence can’t charge as much for concert tickets. Which can’t be a very good look, in the age of the 360 deal.

The way things are going these days, Asher Roth might not sell as many albums over the course of his career as Eminem sold back in 2000. But if he can appeal to enough 18 year-old white kids who wouldn’t know from good rap music, he could end up one of the only rappers making any money these days anyway. I guess we’ll see.

  • amar

    i think it’s annoying to compare the two, just like when ppl were comparing 50 to pac cause they both got shot a bunch of times

    1. in terms of their mainstream: eminem had 2-4 funny pop anthems on his album which were poppy and completely original for their time. Does Asher? Not really original anymore is it?

    2. in terms of their quality: rest of eminem’s album was about a fucked up drug addict and the lyrical was insane. Asher’s lyrics are ok but the album is all fun, and not really fucked up like em’s from what i understand? Correct me if im wrong of course

    3. in terms of their situation: eminem was basically a broke, slightly mentally disturbed white trashy drug addict with a kid to support who truly loved hip hop, coming into the game when there weren’t any white mc’s being taken seriously. Asher roth is coming outta college, rapping about smoking weed instead of going to class and coming into a position where the world is looking for the next great white mc to blow up.

    • http://xxl ryan

      couldnt of said it better. they r jus 2 dam differnt 2 compare. asher is ight dough. eminem new shit sucks dough i think it is another encore album smh.

    • Smel

      Completely co-sign #3

      There’s definitely a place for happy, fun rap though. Eminem just wasn’t/isn’t in that place. His shit is overall very dark.

  • geico lizard

    “That was what separated him from Vanilla Ice and any number of other lame-ass white rappers.” Eminem was different from vanilla ice,snow,bubba sparxx,david faustino,brian austin green(banging megan fox) and haystak because he had the dr dre co-sign and beats.

    The other white rappers had some black co-signs but they didnt pan out into record sales. Right now asher roths black co-sign is dj drama when he isnt hiding from young jeezy. Before eminem i think Marky Mark and Vanilla Ice were the best selling solo white rappers.

  • IndyKid

    That is exactly what I’ve been saying. Sure they may sound similar in their voicetone or even their flow but what made Eminem really shine was his intense delivery in his words. Whatever he said, he said it with passion and with heart. Though Asher is good (in my opinion) he really needs to find that niche where he really wants to give something to hip-hop. Anybody can tell he has tight rhymes and really appreciates hip-hop itself. Personally, I have no problem with him. I think dude’s tight. But I understand how people can be skeptical I guess.

    Indy

  • giantstepp

    I aint into new rap enough to care. Neva liked Em either. Yeah, he can spit but dudes voice is annoying as hell. And I am sorry, just looking at this new cat makes me wanna pass. I’ve heard decent reviews on him, but still.

  • Pierzy

    Asher Roth is complete trash. Once again, Bol disagrees with people that can discern good hip-hop and dogshit.

    • Pierzy

      But I do agree that the Rich Cronin interview was one of the best Stern interviews in years. I listened to it twice…

  • Avenger XL

    Thank you Indy Kid that was my thoughts exactly. Please understand Asher is nice but as I always said. The mainstream of hip-hop and all of music for that matter is like the WWE. People want to be entertained they want characters and not just thrown together gimmicks. EM’s passion was real and he was the dark jester trying to say the most shocking things to rattle you chains. In the same way Marlin Manson came off all ultra GOTH Scary guy to shock folks. But the thing about these two it was more than a gimmick, they supersized a corner of their creative ego, making a character out of it. Now if Asher is going to be the new frat house hero that is great but people get older and college ends and if that is his introduction or character he is going to get paid cause he has a market in the suburban college crowd and what ever is passing for alternative radio these days.

    He also has the fact that he can totally flip the script and leave Hip-hop in the dust venture into another genre without reprocussions. Because his niche audience will allow him to being suburban they are open to more”" artistic risk. So all in all his voice tone is Emish but hey that is how you get signed but now it is up to TI RifKind/SRC and Asher to figure out what he is going to do next.
    I think he will be the Hip-hop PINK there I said it.

  • IndyKid

    ^Hahaha on the Pink comment. Exactly. Like I said, I like the guy. But it really all boils down to what Bol said, ‘I guess we’ll see’. We can all throw our opinions around but there’s really no one that can say where Asher’s career will go. Did anyone predict Eminem? I know I didn’t…

    Indy

  • Josh

    Asher Roth is kind of wack. His voice is kind of Eminem-ish, but that, and being white, is where the comparison ends.

    Em DID get his crossover appeal by making pop-ish records, but those records were really funny with funny videos. Asher is just corny.

    You want to see a suburban white MC with skills? Check for 6th Sense.

    I will say this…Asher probably will sell and have a viable career for a couple of years because college kids will definitely relate to him.

    But then again, he might be the white Afroman.

  • http://www.myspace.com/chronikill ROX ONE

    like him or hate him, eminem came up the way underground rappers came up back in the day… he paid dues playing local shows and entered larger battles… he already had a history, as you mentioned when his single dropped… and while a lot of mainstream heads who listened to prepacked rap scoff at the underground grind, it shows dedication to the art and proves you aren’t just someone elses get rich quick scheme… if you want to say eminem came into the game mad gimmicky, fine…but he knew how to rap.. I feel he bit a lot of big l and a lot of other cats (cage), but he knew how to rap.

    I never heard of asher roth until he had a(pretty bad) mixtape out with dj drama… was he even doing shows 3 years ago? i doubt it.. he sure can’t rap and would have his lunch eaten in a battle, imo…

  • OK

    Staight up buttcheeks. Fuck the world.

  • $ykotic

    Weezer? Bol you mentioned Weezer?

    Ya’ll @ XXL must have gotten paid last week! lol

    I agree with OK above me.

  • KF UK

    Fuck asher roth.

    Nice title tho Bol.

    Weezer do they thing!

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    What’s all these homos above me bloggin’ & complainin’ ’bout ,s**t that’s a female trait.

  • http://www.rizzleworld.blogspot.com allnice

    Yeah I can see Asher Roth doing his numbers just off the strength of being white and pulling a reverse Kanye. Good for him, he’s lame and “white” people need something to feel good about after Obama right? Whatever, let this monkey mutherfucka make some dough, he not classic, no one cares, and that’s that.