Being a privileged white guy from the Philly suburbs doesn’t disqualify Asher Roth from legitimate hip-hop MC status—not being able to spin an interesting yarn does. The Scooter Braun-championed overnight sensation’s debut, Asleep In the Bread Aisle, has little to say, other than that Roth occasionally likes rapping like a beat poet, he loves his family, he loves smoking weed, and—oh, yeah—he loves higher education.
With its Weezer sample and anti-resident-adviser message, gargantuan hit “I Love College” is as frat-ready as anything this side of “Baby Got Back,” and the album’s concerns are decidedly upper-middle-class/twentysomething, white dude throughout. (One song, “Bad Day,” is about how it sucks to have to sit next to a fat guy on the flight to your friend’s wedding. Seriously.) Despite being surrounded by a credible cast of characters, including Cee-Lo Green, Don Cannon and Busta Rhymes, Roth fails to say anything controversial or memorable. “As I Em” seeks to establish his own identity, but he need not worry about Eminem comparisons. Slim Shady’s music gets people charged-up, while Roth’s repertoire will make them as drowsy as those blunts he’s always talking about.