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Asher Roth: The Truth?

How do you really feel about Asher Roth? I know the debate has been going on for some time but now we have much more material to judge him on (the album drops next week but it has sprung a leak and so it is fair game). I for one am on the fence.

When The Greenhouse Effect mixtape first dropped he could not have found a bigger fan than me. I thought it was refreshing to hear this kid spit with skill about the suburban lifestyle. But not in the John Brown style of thugging out the ‘burbs, Asher stayed truthful to himself, flip-flops, beer bongs and salmon with capers all the way.

Then the all-important co-signs came in: Jay-Z, Andre 3000, DJ Drama and on and on. Videos started surfacing on the blogs of frat parties attended by Steve Rifkind and Don Cannon, studio sessions where he’s teaching rappers how to bong beers and even a Show & Prove in XXL of the kid holding a girl upside doing a keg stand.

But pre-album buzz is customary in Hip-Hop and ultimately you will be judged on your debut album. And this album has me feeling confused as a Hip-Hop fan I like it but I don’t love it. The beats are good, the guest spots are impressive and the lyricism is on point. Forget Eminem, this guy is the nephew of the Beastie Boys. He rhymes about weed, girls and parties License to Ill style. He gets too self-conscious sometimes, trying to address all the haters before they get a chance to speak, but also really shines on tracks like “Bad Day” and “Lark On My Go-Kart”.

This is a big moment for Hip-Hop. On April 29th his sales numbers will come in and if the Hip-Hop mainstream does accept him and his numbers are high (especially if he tops Rick Ross), you will see a production line of Frat Rappers starting up. The labels will be sending A&Rs to the ‘burbs scouring for the next FratRap superstar. They’ll call it the next big thing, the “true” rap fans will cringe and Biggie will roll over in his grave.

I’m still a fan but feeling more cautious now. How do you feel about the kid?

- MikeD

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