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Asher Roth 

Asleep in the Bread Aisle (SchoolBoy/SRC/Universal Motown)

Wednesday, Apr 22 2009

Being a privileged white guy from the Philly suburbs doesn't disqualify Asher Roth from legitimate hip-hop MC status — not being able to spin an interesting yarn does. The Scooter Braun–championed overnight sensation's debut, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, has little to say, other than that Roth occasionally likes rapping like a Beat poet, he loves his family, he loves smoking weed, and, oh yeah, he loves higher education. With its Weezer sample and anti-residential-adviser message, gargantuan hit "I Love College" is as frat-ready as anything this side of "Baby Got Back," and the album's concerns are decidedly upper-middle-class/twentysomething-white-dude throughout. (One song, "Bad Day," is about how much it sucks to have to sit next to a fat guy on the flight to your friend's wedding. Seriously.) Despite being surrounded by a credible cast of characters, including Cee-Lo Green, Don Cannon, and Busta Rhymes, Roth fails to say anything controversial or memorable. "As I Em" seeks to establish his own identity, but he need not worry about Eminem comparisons. Slim Shady's music gets people charged up, but Roth's repertoire will make them as drowsy as those blunts he's always talking about.

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Ben Westhoff


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