By Steven Roberts
I may have the coolest job in the world. I am 23 years old, and I have been working at MTV News for a little over a year. Whenever I see Sway, he gives me a pound, and not just once a day — he literally gives me a pound every time I see him. I like to walk by and sneak a peek in Kurt Loder's office at least twice a day.
But the best part of my job is that I get to report on what I consider cool. For the past month, I have been working on "MCs to Watch in 2009." The project highlights five up-and-coming rap acts: Charles Hamilton, Wale, Kid Cudi, B.o.B and Asher Roth, who I feel are the next to blow. They each had been building a buzz on MySpace, blogs and with that pretentious hip-hop head in your dorm (he doesn't like them anymore now that they're on MTV).
I had the opportunity to meet and interview them all. It was a great experience, because not only had I convinced my bosses at MTV News to let me go out and interview underground rappers, but they were all around my age. I talked to each off the record, but since we're rolling out Asher Roth's piece today, I'll tell you guys that story.
I had just interviewed Asher at Bar None, a popular NYU bar, and it went smoothly — we even talked about sports afterwards. He's a 49ers fan, and I'm a Cowboys fan. Both teams suck now, so there were no bad feelings. We didn't talk long, because he had to rush off to meet with some people at our offices in Times Square.
We said our goodbyes, and my team and I packed our equipment to head back to the office as well. Later on that afternoon, I was invited to an Asher Roth listening session by another one of my producers — these sessions are where newer artists are showcased to those people who are influential at the network.
As you can imagine, it was an older crowd, and I stuck out because of my age. Funnily enough, I think Asher felt the same way when he came in the room. He entered with a youthful exuberance — sporting boat shoes with no socks — and asked how everyone was. It was greeted with a few corporate smiles, but it definitely wasn't his crowd. So he headed for the pizza and a beer.
He spotted me and came over to say, "What's up." He thanked me for the interview, and I thanked him for letting me do it. He told me how New York wasn't really his scene. The city was so fast-paced, and he enjoyed the laid-back life of the 'burbs. I told him that I was the opposite; I grew up in the city, and I would lose my mind if I had to sit around and just chill. We talked some more and, despite his love for the laid-back life, his exciting music had garnered MTV's attention. He was just being himself, and it paid off.
He eventually had to go introduce himself to everyone else in the room before we previewed his album. We parted ways, but he thanked me again ... and as I sat back and listened to some of his tracks, I couldn't help but think how cool my job is.