As a melanin deficient rapper, gaining attention is the easy part. Earning respect on the other hand, may take double the effort. Coming out of Surburbia, Pennsylvania, Asher Paul Roth saw his career’s stock rise fairly quickly after releasing a famed Gangsta Grillz mixtape and landing the cover of XXL with the several other of his freshman counterparts. As one of the first to land a major label deal, young Asher is out to prove he’s more than an affirmative action contingent with his exceptionally divergent debut Asleep In The Bread Aisle.
They say imitation is the best form of flattery, but in the world of Hip-Hop, it’s severely frowned upon and even Asher can’t argue with the vocal similarities he shares with a certain legendary White rapper. Hoping to quell all notions that he’s merely an Eminem knockoff, the earnest open scribe “As I Em” lays it all out there for better or worse with lines like “If I don’t confront the problem/it will never go away/unless it’s addressed/there’s nothing left for me to do/it’s impossible rejecting an elephant in the room…”
More effectively in the fight for distinction however is, Asleep In The Bread Aisle’s score. Producers Oren Yoel and David Appleton do an excellent job at conjuring up soulful rhapsodies with accessible appendages that don’t favor any particular audience. The Busta Rhymes-featured “Lion’s Roar” incorporates a frantic electro-tinge while the animated bounce of “Lark On My Go Kart” showcases a competent verbalist with Asher detailing various oddities that mirror a Nintendo game. And fellow Greenhouse Effect affiliate Don Cannon delivers a richly unique soundbed on “La Di Da” to keep the album’s melodic worth reasonably consistent.
Not every good in the bakery is fresh, however. Oddly enough, Asher manages to distance himself from further Eminem comparisons but doesn’t make any headway to leveraging his own personality for the world to embrace. The frat-boy shtick of the catchy first single “I Love College” bears little resemblance to rest of the LP — especially when Asher turns into sociological analyst on “Sour Patch Kids” and wastes 48 bars on the pointless “Bad Day.”
Topical issues aside, Asleep In The Bread Aisle offers up an euphonic musical experience from a promising Hip-Hop artist. While there’s plenty of room for growth and maturity, Asher Roth’s slacker mentality validates the stoner’s pass to thrive in the game for future endeavors.