Retrohash Review: Asher Roth isn't a Goofy College Kid Anymore
Asher Roth's most recent album dropped this last week, and in my personal opinion it's amazing. Generally, when I suggest Asher Roth to people they scoff and turn their nose up. Fortunately, I am a self-proclaimed hip hop expert and general music enthusiast, so people will take my suggestion seriously although many still have their doubts.
I cannot understand this preconceived notion that Asher Roth is not a serious musical artist. As if he hasn't already proven he can make amazing music with his previous release, Pabst and Jazz. He's put out plenty of other quality releases as well, but that one is definitely what I consider to be his best with the exclusion Retrohash. Even the other blog I write for, I posted an Asher Roth music video and the editor immediately took it down, telling me "I just can't stand that guy." With all of this aside, if you listen to this album and didn't know it was the same white guy that made that I love College song, I think you would have to agree that this album is an amazing piece of musical work. The entire project is produced by the Chicago-based production duo Blended Babies, and they killed it on the production side. Everything is mixed perfectly, and each song is crafted uniquely and beautifully. Whether it's the more boom bap sound of Dude featuring Curren$y, or the harmonious sounds of Parties at the Disco with ZZ Ward and Pot of Gold, amongst many other tracks.
This is not the best RAP album of the year, but in my mind, it is definitely the fore-runner for must complete and cohesive musical project released in 2014 so far. As mentioned with the production, Asher really flexes his diversity on the tracks going from the straight, lyrical type spit on Dude to sing-rapping melodiously on tracks like Pull It, which happens to be my favorite track on the album.
The album is short however, but in my mind it's for the better. As the old saying goes, quality over quantity, and this definitely goes to prove this. In regards to the aforementioned cohesiveness, the whole vibe is very Asher. I think he has grown a lot from a partying college kid, to an anthropological, introspective, philosophical musician. I think perhaps I'm bias, because when he came out with that song in 2008, as a freshman in college I was in that same state of mind. Six years later, with the release of this album, I have grown and learned more about the world as well, and we might be in the same place this time as well. Either way, this album is amazing, and I think everyone should give this dude a shot, despite that awful college anthem from six years ago. If this doesn't make you wanna listen to the album, you can check out what he had to say during his AMA on Reddit. Shout out to 2dopeboyz for compiling the highlights of his AMA.
Are you still friends with Brain, Boyder, and wreckineyez??! I would stay up hours watching boydercams. It's making me sad seeing you guys drift apart :(.
+ Absolutely. Relationships like that never end but real life just gets in the way sometimes. When I moved to NY and now LA it wasn't as convenient like when we all lived across the street from each other in West Chester. Or when we lived together in Atlanta. Which is what made those Boydercam videos so timeless. They were genuine moment captures which depicted genuine friendships which I feel like people could relate to. Those are my brothers. Wreckineyez is still my DJ. Brain and I were on the phone for an hour yesterday talking about everything and Boyd and I still laugh weekly. I feel like when relationships get tested by distance and time is when they really become real.
When will we get a sequel to The Rawth EP, the Rawther EP?
+ Soon. Very soon. Nottz is currently concocting his new studio.
What is the best part about going independent, opposed to your former label. And, do you plan on doing a tour now that RetroHash is out? (If so, please come to Milwaukee!)
+ Amazing! Really look forward to getting back to Milwaukee. Hoping to be a part of Summerfest soon!
The best part of being independent is easily the lack of interference and need for permission. Do what you want when you want! The downside is not having a lot money to work with but I feel like that forces you to be more creative and ultimately inspires the coolest stuff. It definitely isn'
Do you plan on doing any more work with Spitta? I think I speak for everyone in saying that the Jet Life community would highly praise a Curren$y x Asher Roth x Harry Fraud project.
+ Curren$y and I have very similar perspectives on life which is why I needed him on 'Dude.' And Harry Fraud and I have killer hair. So I don't think it would be too far fetched to see future collaborations between all 3 of us...
Who's one of your favorite hip hop artist on the rise? Having been in the game for a while, I assume you have some opinions on developing talent. Will there ever be aPabst and Jazz Vol. 2?
+ I dig what those Chicago kids are doing. Vic, Chance the Save Money Army. They're talented, having fun and understand the power of music. I doubt there will be a Vol 2 to Pabst and Jazz. For the most part, although treated like a mixtape, that was kind of an LP! All original production.
Will we ever hear any tracks that were created for the Spaghetti Tree/Is This Too Orange or are they lost in the hands of some label forever? "G.R.I.N.D." is still one of my fav tracks
+ Man, I can't tell you how much the record G.R.I.N.D. means to me. We even had a remix with B.o.B. that was fresh. That record really was the "Pull It" moment I'm talking about above where I said...'I gotta get out of this major label system.' There's some really fun records that have been recorded with Pharrell, Oren, Organized Noize that I really hope see the light of the day. Soundcloud is a beautiful thing....;)
Anyways in Eminem's song "Asshole" he dissed you and it sounded like it was because you dissed him first. But you didn't, you simply just rapped about how you guys were constantly getting compared to each other in your song "As I Em." How did Em dissing you make you feel? Did you like that Eminem even mentioned your name or did you take it as a "Eminem misunderstood the concept of my lyrics"?
+ It's really hard to takes disses personally if you don't know that person...personally. I chalk it up to entertainment.
What is a Flohican man?
+ It is a lyricist who is one with the world.
I would just like to know the similarities and differences between making Retro Hash and Pabst and Jazz.
+ The main similarity is the Blended Babies. They produced RetroHash and a majority of Pabst & Jazz. Whenever you get consistency in the production department you start to build a genuine relationship. JP & Rich (Blended Babies) are my friends and we trust each other. That allows us to be more confident about ideas and try new things. It also means things are very relaxed and easy going in the sessions!
What made you choose to go Independent?
+ Creative control really. The compromises you make in the major label system are weird...from my experiences you can basically do 80% of the album but then "they" want "singles." And it's this huge hunt for "singles." That process is grueling because no one REALLY knows what people are going to like. That's why I got to the point where I was just like "Hey, whatever happens happens. I just want to do my thing."
Preference: weed or alcohol?
+ Shoot, weed and alcohol aren't for everybody and people should for real know their limitations and not succumb to peer pressure. As I get older, I can't ignore the happiness of a beer at day's end or midday to reset. Tree can be a life saver too. No matter your preference please don't abuse either. Stay thirsty, my friend.
How different do you think this album is from all of your other work? Who do you plan on bringing out on the road with you for your tour? What is your favorite and why from RetroHash?
+ I think RetroHash just represents where I'm at in my life at this moment. I definitely don't want albums and LP's to all sound the same.
Don't know who I'll bring on the road with me. Heck, I might jump on someone else's tour. We'll see what happens.
Can't pick a favorite from RetroHash yet. Let's see what happens during performances and how crowds respond to certain songs and I'll let you know!