Judging by the reception he enjoyed at MTV’s Spring Break and South By Southwest, it’s safe to say that anticipation for [artist id="3123015"]Asher Roth[/artist]‘s debut album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, is steadily building. Not only has Roth been pegged as one of the next generation of great MCs , but some have placed the future of hip-hop in his hands . MTV News sat down recently with Roth at his old college of West Chester University, where he previewed eight of the album’s 12 tracks, which he hopes span genres other than hip-hop.
“It was very important to showcase the fact that over the last 23 years of my life that I have not just listened to hip-hop,” Roth explained. “People need to understand that people have iPod Shuffles nowadays. When you go through people’s iPods, it’s not just hip-hop, it’s not just jazz, it’s not just rock — there are all types of music.”
The bulk of the album was produced by Oren Yoel, who was also focused on that genre-jumping philosophy. And while the phrase “there’s something for everybody on this album” has become a cliché at this point, he said the best part about the listening sessions was the fact that everyone had a different favorite song.
“Lark On My Go-Kart”
Asher recently released an animated video for this song, which is the album’s intro. Most people thought Roth was a novelty act and questioned whether he could really rap after “I Love College,” but “Lark” changed things.
“With Lark coming out, it was a cornucopia of just vivid lyrics … different images, no real concept, nothing really to draw from except for these references from my life,” he explained. “People were like, ‘I don’t even know what to expect anymore,’ and I think that’s the beauty of that record.”
“Blunt Cruisin’ “
Roth’s album will be released on 4/20 — a date he said is appropriate for anyone who knows him — and the song’s title speaks for itself. “You drive around a familiar area, listening to your favorite CD and enjoy the nice weather. It just gets things in the right mood,” he said. “Every song is very visual. I don’t want to waste my listeners’ time.”
“I Love College”
Roth was surprised that this was the record that basically launched his career. “I wrote that song for me, because I’m sitting on the couch like, ‘I love college. I miss college. I want to go to college for the rest of my life.’ I wrote that song for me. The next thing you know, you had a bunch of people who were like, ‘I feel that same exact way.’ ”
Although people will probably associate his name with “I Love College” for a while, he insists he’s no one-hit wonder. “People need to trust me when I say this — there’s going to be a lot more benchmarks along that way.”
“Be By Myself”
Slated to be the second single off the album, this song features Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley and Goodie Mobb fame.
“We had a good problem to have in the sense of, ‘Which way do we go next?’ ” Roth said of choosing the follow-up to “I Love College.” “That’s what’s cool about the album.”
This track features Busta Rhymes, as well as Oren Yoel’s band, New Kingdom. Roth is a Leo, hence the title of this song, and on this cut he wanted to let the beat do its thing, instead of trying to outshine it. “Sometimes the best way to handle a record is sort of getting out of the way.”
“She Don’t Want A Man”
This track, influenced by Roth’s two older sisters and a distaste for disrespecting women, features Keri Hilson.
“As much as I want to be sleazy and go out have a bunch of random sex, it’s tough for me,” he joked. “It’s an ode to my girls that just want to go out and have a good time and don’t want some sleazy dude all over them.”
“As I Em”
Whether it’s because they are both white or because they do sound alike, Roth has been compared to Eminem — a lot — and he addresses the comparisons on this song, which features D.A. Wallach of Chester French.
“Sour Patch Kids”
Roth has said that he wants to start a revolution with his music — to organize kids so that they can be more proactive in their world.
“Our problems are not going to stop with Barack Obama. Money and Fortune 500 companies really dictate what goes on in this world, and people need to start asking questions,” he said. “Everything is not lovely. The economy is not the only thing wrong with our country. There’s a lot going on, and people should not just go home and zone out to the TV. People want change, and kids need to start getting off their butts and become active.”