MCs To Watch In 2009: Asher Roth

'I'm very honest with my music and I think people appreciate that,' the suburban rapper says.

Asher Roth is a white rapper. He also happens to sound like another (very popular) white rapper. It can be a daunting task to break out as a new hip-hop artist, but it can be especially daunting when whenever you open your mouth to spit you're compared to [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist] — and your first MTV News article opens with said comparison.

"With me, it just happens that the comparison to any white MC is easy," Roth said. "I'm a white kid, so it's kind of like, 'All right, this kid is an Eminem, a [artist id="968"]Beastie Boy[/artist] or something like that.' "

Roth explained that, in the music industry, you are always going to be compared to somebody because that's how people categorize their art. People compared Eminem to Vanilla Ice — both were white and both were rappers, but that's where the comparison ended. Eminem quickly differentiated himself and established who he was, and Roth seems poised to do the same.

"You really have to establish yourself and just distinguish yourself doing something a little bit different," Roth continued. "MySpace and Facebook and the blogs have made it easy, if you put enough of yourself out there to distinguish yourself as an individual."

Roth has used these social-networking sites, as well as his blog, The Daily Kush, to establish himself and to reach out to others — there are numerous videos of him interacting with college kids and stars alike. Whether he's running from security on USC's campus or receiving praise from [artist id="1240040"]Akon[/artist] or [artist id="961097"]Ludacris[/artist], his buzz is building.

"I knew once I had their attention for one second they'd be interested," Roth said. "So that's kind of the point where we are at. We've got people's attention, and now it's what we're going to do with people's attention."

He's ready to keep making his music and won't allow the pressure to get to him because, once you're in, there's really no turning back — you can't become un-famous.

"You just have to be comfortable in your own skin, and I am," he explained. "I'm very honest with my music and I think people appreciate that and they are very receptive, because the music is very relatable. It makes me approachable as an artist."

Asher is open about his background, and readily admits that he is from Morrisville, Pennsylvania — the suburbs, not the streets. He is a big fan of classic rock, jazz and hip-hop, and he tries to fuse those influences in his music. He's also quick to point out that he's only 23 — a lot younger than Eminem or the Beastie Boys.

"I'm a whole generation younger. There's a new generation of artists that are coming, who are younger and speak for an entire different generation. Kids who are 13-, 11-, 10-years-old might not even know who Em is. ... I think that's where we are at ... really distinguishing that this is an entirely new generation of rappers."

Also check out Kid Cudi, Wale, B.o.B. and Charles Hamilton in our "MCs to Watch in '09" series.