Asher Roth
Seared Foie Gras with Quince and Cranberry

Beats: L
Lyrics: XL
Originality: L

Asher Roth is ready to grow up. On his latest mixtape, Seared Foie Gras with Quince and Cranberry, he stakes his claim for a seat at hip-hop’s grown-up table by using a slew of familiar hip-hop beats to prove there’s more to him than beer pong and keg stands. And though it’s merely intended as an appetizer for his upcoming sophomore album, the “I Love College” rapper serves up plenty of convincing sampler platters to get his point across.

The meal starts with the insightful “Muddy Swim Trunks,” where Roth borrows Sean Price’s 2009 track, “Figure Four,” to dispel the gay rumors that circulated on the Internet last year. From there, he swipes Cam’ron’s infectious “Down and Out,” to create “Con-fid-ence,” to reflect on the hate he received after he dropped his 2009 debut, Asleep in the Bread Aisle. He even hops on Q-Tip’s 1999 song, “Let’s Ride,” on “Fuck Your Ringtone Dog” to create a small level of separation from his college fan base. “We’re still down with sorority games,” he raps, “nowadays it just seems my priorities changed.”

That’s not to say everything here is a testimonial to his growth as an artist. Roth’s up to his old tricks alongside college buddies Tom “Boyder” Boyd and Brian Bangley on “Toni Braxton” and “Cumbaya,” which both showcase frat boy humor at its finest. Similarly, the ridiculous “Vagitables” finds him comparing parts of the female anatomy to vegetables. They’re entertaining, but they’re only designed to be funny once and do little to help Roth shed his party animal image.

While the schoolboy antics are still a part of who he is, Roth manages to open up just enough on Seared Foie Gras… to offer a taste of his maturation. It’s a delectable dish to say the least. —Chris Yuscavage