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Album review: Asher Roth's 'Asleep in the Bread Aisle'*

Asher_240 In the 10 months since Asher Roth dropped his DJ Drama-helmed mix tape, "The Greenhouse Effect," the Morrisville, Pa.-raised rapper has managed to become a ubiquitous pop culture presence with the Weezer-riffing hit single, "I Love College," and endorsements from Jay-Z and Andre 3000.

With the release of his official debut, "Asleep in the Bread Aisle" on stoner holiday April 20 (4/20), though, the tallowy talent seems just that -- asleep, with a sedated flow perpetually one toke over the line. When Busta Rhymes ("Lion's Roar") and Beanie Sigel ("Perfectionist") appear, they expose the freshman phenom as out of his weight class.

Roth's attempts at introspection are sincere but shallow: an overwrought ode to his father's mid-life crisis ("His Dream)," a bathos-bloated eco-political diatribe ("Sour Patch Kids") and an attempt to repudiate Eminem comparisons ("As I Em,") made futile by an eerie emulation of Eminem's singular timbre and rhyme schemes.

The album isn't completely charmless. "Lark on My Go-Kart," the Cee-Lo aided, "Be by Myself" and "I Love College" reveal a breezy affability. But far too often, Roth's quest for relatability reeks of redundancy. "Asleep in the Bread Aisle" boasts a benign banality that suggests a truth Roth might already have known -- staying in school was the smart move.

-- Jeff Weiss

Asher Roth
"Asleep in the Bread Aisle"
Schoolboy/SRC/Universal Records
Two and a half stars

UPDATE: The original version of this post mistakenly identified a song's title as  "Way I Em." The correct song title is "As I Em."

Comments () | Archives (11)

Thank you! I totally agree, this guy is not that talented. I think people are more hype about the fact he talks openly about smoking marijuana, not because he has talent. One hit wonder!

This is not a good review of asher roth. I believe he is very talented. BTW it is not Way I Am it's As I Em.

Wow, that had a seemingly negative vibe to it AND yes, the song is "As I Em" Do your homework ;)

asher roth is what is bad about our generation, hollow.

on the plus side... kid cudi + kanye = fire (even if kanye can't rap)

"Wow, that had a seemingly negative vibe to it" Yes thats right Steve bad reviews of terrible artists and albums usually do sound negative. Thats what a bad review gets you.

Love the review, but it was too nice.
What people forget is that we already have an Eminem. Asher Roth's rhymes and rhythms are cliche and unoriginal. The fact that this guy can be in the top-ten for ripping off a great song, Weezer's "Say it isn't so," and slur about booze and chronic is a sad reflection upon society. On that note, I guess I should quit my job, invest in a sampler, and hit the underground rap circuits because who doesn't want to hear about the struggles of a white, upper-middle class, kid from the suburbs? When Jigga-Man wrote "Hard Knock Life," he was talking to us. As soon as someone else comes around and pushes the line for novelty-rap, Asher Roth will be the name of some guy you thought you met at a mixer.

I think Asher Roth is a breath a fresh air to rap. He is amazing and "I Love College" is 1 of the best songs of 2009. This guy is going to be be huge! This review is not a reflection on the music he makes.

the production on the album was under par.. but the kid can flow and his rhyme patterns are sick.. even if they are a little abstract at times. i think he deserves more credit than this review gave him.

This review is waay to negative! Its not a reflection of the album or the rappers and his ability. He is one of the most promising artist of our generation to emerge. I think alot of people think the album is a bit 'sedated' or flat because in the production theres alot of guitar riffs used which possibly puts out a mellow vibe (point people have made to me) but personaly i think iys up beat and is tied together by ashers amazing flow capabilities. Ive had the cd in my car for about 2 weeks n it still sounds as fresh wheb i first heard it. All tracks stand out to me, some because of his flow or the beat and others puely because of what asher raps bout n the depth in the lyrics.

Amazing album lol love it - 10/10.

Asher roth is alright but I listen to a little of his new album its good but dudes rythm sceme and voice and his social life is reminnisent to Eminem we don't need another Eminem there's only 1!


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