Author: has written 5275 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

97 Responses

  1. NinaG
    NinaG May 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm |

    I’m confused, so if he was black he’d be okay? There are plenty of wack hipster rappers doing the same thing Asher Roth is doing. Asher gets so much attention (both negative and positive) because he is white.

  2. Meekins
    Meekins May 1, 2009 at 3:06 pm |

    White has nothing to do with it, really. Disregarding his questionable lyrics, the man has no skill. I couldn’t believe a guy could mumble through a beat and call it a song.

  3. Lauren
    Lauren May 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm |

    Um… I didn’t have a problem with this either. Is the problem that people who go to college have too much privilege to rap? Is it that the song is too carefree and he’s not a ‘serious’ enough musician? Is his feminism a little too MIA, because I go to the King of Ironic White Kids Liberal Arts schools in Sarasota FLA of all white privileged places, and if this is upsetting… you don’t know from douchey hipster white kids who think we’re post-feminism, -racism, -notbeingdicks. Maybe I’m desensitized? Please explain.

  4. norbizness
    norbizness May 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm |

    Any fan of his needs to lose the zero and get with the hero.

    P.S. And if that guitar sample is from Casanova, then Gerald Levert needs to rise from the grave and do something Romeroesque to this chump.

  5. sydney
    sydney May 1, 2009 at 3:16 pm |

    They took rock n’roll and made it their own and now its happening to rap*. sigh. no art form ever really remains pure does it?

    And its not even about the fact that he’s white that bothers me. I can only express my disdain with an analogy: It would be like if some yuppie group started a hard core punk or even metal band and all they talked about was shopping on Michigan Ave for Vera Wang wedding dresses–but in a serious non-ironic fashion. It would be the biggest WTF: like that is simply not what the music is about.

    Or its like if (in all seriousness) I proclaimed Lady Gaga as the greatest pop artist of all time. As Lauren would probably say (and rightfully so), I’d be out of my freakin mind.

    * They referring to the privileged entitled majority which enjoys colonizing every aspect of minority culture in an attempt to find something their own. It always starts of nice and with good intentions and then somehow leads to bs like Asher Roth.

  6. s.
    s. May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |

    Thank you, Jill. Every time I hear that song I have the urge to vomit. Its heartening to know that even pitchfork hates him, too.

  7. Lauren
    Lauren May 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm |

    Also: I feel like this kind of thing is the only way white kids can enjoy hip hop out loud. It would be hypocritical and inauthentic if some college white kid from the suburbs tried to co-opt gangster rap, but how should these kids like what they like if they can’t reinterpret it for themselves? I think this is the only way for white kids to enjoy the music without coming off as posers, being shouted down for their insensitivity, and accused of having too easy a life (which is kind of happening anyway, right?). What should he do, apologize? This is as honest and forthright as anyone could expect. If it comes off ironic and tongue-in-cheek, I don’t know that there’s any way around that even with the purest intentions.

  8. Holly
    Holly May 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm |

    Wow, that was just breathtaking in its soulless emptiness. I’m actually sort of impressed at how totally, pitch-perfect stupid that song was. It wasn’t even TOO stupid in a way that would become funny or some sort of commentary, it’s exactly stupid enough that it means nothing except what it is: some white kid lazily flowing along about how he likes partying at college. What could be more utterly, soul-crushingly white middle-class american than that? It’s like the eye of some kind of average-unremarkable-privilege tornado.

    Also, it sucks as music, but that’s neither here nor there.

    You know what might be interesting? If privileged kids who enjoy hip-hop just said that they enjoyed hip-hop, that they realize it is miles and miles from their own experience but that it speaks to some void in their own boring lives, and that if they are the type that also wants to affect the clothing or style or language originally brought forth by poor inner-city black communities, they’re doing it because they somehow can’t find much of value in their own lives and want to try on someone else’s skin, even if that’s ultimately futile. Or you know, whatever their analysis really is of why they are into hip-hop, the history and evolution and spread of hip-hip and how it all relates to their lives. Of course, you’re not going to find too many fans who will get that far. But there’s a reason some listeners and/or creators are respected in hip-hop regardless of race, and I think it has to do with having insights about these kinds of things instead of being clueless or simple about it.

    It’s not like people just “like” something out of the blue as if a random set of chemical reactions or God Himself put the idea there. We like things for a reason. It’s often worth talking about why, especially if a lot of privilege, and yawning gaps of experience on either side of poverty and race and so forth are caught up in it. You know? Or we could all like, NOT talk about that stuff at all because it’s TOO HARD and maybe it’ll go away if we ignore it. Or maybe it’s better to talk about it, but not in a way that might IMPUGN SOMEONE’S MUSICAL TASTE, horrors!!

    God forbid someone should be ACCUSED of having too easy a life! That is so unfair! It might hurt their feelings or make them feel guilty! Then they will be paralyzed and slink back to their dorm rooms to get wasted again, until the terrible guilt goes away!!

  9. Ash
    Ash May 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm |

    Honestly, I was elated when I heard this track for the first time. It sums up perfectly EVERYTHING I hate about “the college experience”, almost like it was written for me. Now when someone asks me why college makes me so miserable, I can just turn on the radio and wait for this song. Graduation can’t come fast enough.

  10. Greg
    Greg May 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |

    I love rap and hiphop and this guy is wack as hell. At least the Beastie Boys had some interesting lyrics, and solid beats by Mix Master Mike (former DMC world champ), but this guy is just pathetic. I’d love, LOVE to see his pasty ass come to Houston and go down to Third Ward, I’m sure he’ll meet tons of new friends. I don’t have any problem with people of any race doing whatever kind of music they want, I don’t care, but this hipster/frat boy shit has got to stop. And shame on Busta from even appearing on that album, he knows better than that.
    And excellent analogy sydney, if some yuppie were to do metal or punk, they would just not be laughed off the stage, they would most likely get their ass’s beat in the process.

  11. Yolanda C.
    Yolanda C. May 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm |

    I don’t know what y’all are talking about, but this is purrrrfect! Privileged hetero cis-white boy rap—it’s as if Bluto Blutarsky and Snoop Dogg had a love child and named him Asher. Slim Shady ain’t got NATHIN’ on this dude.

  12. Lauren
    Lauren May 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm |

    God forbid someone should be ACCUSED of having too easy a life! That is so unfair!

    It is unfair. I understand that other people get more unfairness, but it’s not a contest (or if it is, it’s a contest no one wants to win). How is it fair to say to some kid, “Oh you like hip hop and want to be a musician? WELL FUCK YOU, YOU’RE TOO BORING AND EMPTY BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT FROM THE GHETTO.” That’s… disgusting. So he raps about his boring middle-class life and people still have a problem with it. Should have learned to play violin like white privileged kids are supposed to (and by extension–I better not hear classical music from poor people? Can anyone else say ‘bullshit double standard’?) to make everyone else happy. Handing out more unfairness does not balance out the amount of injustice–it just spreads it around out of spite.

  13. Ben
    Ben May 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm |

    If the whole album is as dull is this, I do not think Run DMB’s career is long for this world.

  14. Holly
    Holly May 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm |

    Are you kidding me, Lauren? He is rapping about something that a whole lot of people find BORING and EMPTY in part because it’s about unearned, unexamined privilege. And we’re not supposed to criticize that because it would hurt some kid’s feelings? No self-respecting musician wants to be immunized from real criticism, and that is part of a real critique, the politics of it. Art doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You’re acting like someone from the government office going to come down and take his Rap License away and censor him. No, what’s going to happen is that a bunch of people are going to point out how his music is the equivalent of putting mayonnaise on toast and leaving it on the sidewalk for two weeks, and then a bunch of other people are going to BUY HIS RECORD. Tragedy, tragedy.

    There is a point to highlighting the extremely unequal distribution of unfairness in this world. To do that you have to say, yes, getting your feelings hurt and realizing that you didn’t earn any of the good things in your life is hard, but you know what? It’s not that hard in the big scheme of things. Suck it up and grow up, college kids. You’re theoretically there to learn — so there you go, something else you can learn. How ridiculously lucky you are to be in college, and how the privilege of being there is not something most people there earn or magically deserve, it’s just a privilege. I can think of few things it would be BETTER to learn in college, although how not to write terrible song lyrics would have been good for Asher.

    And I was serious about how amazing this song is in a certain way. I agree w/ Yolanda actually.

  15. lizvelrene
    lizvelrene May 1, 2009 at 4:11 pm |

    What’s frustrating is that this music will be played on mainstream “rock” radio as a “crossover”, guaranteed. Just like Eminem was. Alternative radio stations would throw on Eminem in the middle of a solid block of rock tracks, and would call it musical diversity. The same stations would never play Mos Def. Outkast had to get remixed by Rage Against the Machine to get crossover play, for crissakes. Black hiphop artists do not get the kind of cross-promotion that white hiphop artists do. Is it because the music is more accessible, or because the artist is white?

    Rock radio is default “white-oriented” (and the insanity of THAT is a whole other topic) they only recognize other genres when white artists do them. See also: blues, jazz, etc. All they have to do is be barely competent, and they will be everywhere. But superior hiphop artists don’t get this exposure if they are people of color.

    I’m talking about how radio works here, not how listeners work. Although radio still affects the success of artists and will have an impact on listeners.

    I had a much longer and better version of this post a few minutes ago, but I got an error message and it dissappeared. :(

  16. lizvelrene
    lizvelrene May 1, 2009 at 4:18 pm |

    Other examples: beastie boys, everlast/house of pain, KID ROCK, Vanilla Ice, and the indie-approved Lady Sovereign and The Streets.

    Gorillaz makes a really fun case study. As cartoon characters – approachable! As Dan the Automator and Del the Funky Homosapien – scary/weird! None of their other associated identities have broken through the way their disguised versions have with Damon Alborn fronting a bunch of caricatures.

  17. Agi
    Agi May 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm |

    Go ninja, go ninja, go!

    Thanks, norbizness. That clip made my day.

  18. amandaw
    amandaw May 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm |

    accused of having too easy a life (which is kind of happening anyway, right?). What should he do, apologize?

    Buh… wha?

    Are you on the right blog? This is a feminist blog. Generally, even the most rudimentary understanding of feminism recognizes the existence of privilege and does not berate people who call out that privilege for daring to note its existence, because “What am I supposed to dooooo?”

  19. lizvelrene
    lizvelrene May 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm |

    And of course I misspelled Damon Albarn. Anyway, point being, the exact same guys put out the Deltron 3030 album around the same time, which was better than the Gorillaz project, and yet: no airplay, fewer sales. It helps to have the (white) guy from Blur as the only publicly identified member when you want KROQ to spin you, I guess.

  20. eedlebeedle
    eedlebeedle May 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm |

    It seems that this video is of someone else rapping over Roth’s vocals (which I tracked down and are even less impressive). The guy who made this version appears not to be white, so does this change anything?

  21. Lauren
    Lauren May 1, 2009 at 4:35 pm |

    Jill: I didn’t mean to come off as snippy (which I kind of did–sorry), I just still don’t get why Asher Roth is “everything that is wrong with the world” for rapping about how great college is. I love college. And I’m downloading this song since it’s also up on (1) not taking advantage of drunk girls and (2) using condoms. What’s wrong with this?

    Holly: I know criticizing him is fair, if your criticizing for his music being shitty. But if his song is indeed amazingly catchy and nice-sounding, but fuck him for being in college, then that’s not legitimate criticism. Poor people go to college too, with student loans and work study and jobs; naturally people should appreciate their privilege, understand that other people have to break their asses to be where you landed softly, but he should feel shitty about that? Better to work on making everyone feel like they have a right to education and leisure (wouldn’t that be nice) than to tear down people who have it for enjoying it. Also: college parties are the best places for free fun around. People with frat privilege fill the house with booze and toys, and everyone is invited. People find college boring and empty… why? It depends on which college you go to. At my college we swim around in feminism all day with not a frat or football team in sight. It’s fascinating and fulfilling if I’m not too spiny to cull the good from the bad.

  22. Cara
    Cara May 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm |

    Go ninja, go ninja, go!

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Okay seriously I just died of laughter overload. Dear god, there are now dancing Ninja Turtles in my head.

  23. Cola
    Cola May 1, 2009 at 4:57 pm |

    He does the bare minimum of saying, “…don’t have sex if she’s too far gone” Whatever his motives. I honestly didn’t expect that much because date rape is usually so fucking hilarious to frat boys.

    But yeah.

  24. Lauren
    Lauren May 1, 2009 at 5:04 pm |

    Are you on the right blog? This is a feminist blog. Generally, even the most rudimentary understanding of feminism recognizes the existence of privilege and does not berate people who call out that privilege for daring to note its existence, because “What am I supposed to dooooo?”

    But people act like kids have privilege on purpose. The definition of privilege is some great shit that just happens to you, without you doing dick, and it’s totally unfair, and…what? What about it? I feel like this song knows full well how great the life is, and it’s appreciative of that. I see the privilege. There it is. So now what? Please believe me that I am not being snarky: seriously what do we about it, if not recognize and work with that understanding? I’m young, and new to feminism, and I only want this stuff explained to me. I don’t read feminist blogs to make sure my mind stagnates. I want to learn, I’m asking questions.

  25. amandaw
    amandaw May 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm |

    No, people don’t act like kids have privilege on purpose. You read that into their statements.

    If you want to learn, the “Privilege” link is a great place to start.

  26. Lauren
    Lauren May 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |

    Okay, the privilege link:. I have privilege, fine. Criticism is not hatred (starting to sound like it, but…!), fine. I can only sympathize, not empathize. Okay. So this song is a “respect minority spaces” problem? The upper-middle class in infringing on the music of a lower class minority? Asher Roth should just “not bring it up” because he’s not in a position use hip hop as a mode of expression or because even unintended irony on his part is irresponsible? All this post says is that he sucks, god just fuck that guy, and I don’t see why.

  27. Greg
    Greg May 1, 2009 at 5:40 pm |

    Lauren, I have a little web site you should read that deals with white privilege quite well. http://www.womanist-musings.com/
    Great site, it really makes you think about privilege in ways that will make you uncomfortable if you have not thought long and hard about it. Just search for it there, and you will really have something to think about.
    Asher Roth lives in a bubble. A very white bubble. He tries to immerse himself in black culture, only to make a mockery of it.

  28. femmina
    femmina May 1, 2009 at 5:48 pm |

    First, I just want to say that I totally agree with Yolanda. If I were giving him more credit than I do, I’d say it’s a wonderful parody of privileged-white-fratboy-ness. Since I don’t give him that much credit, it’s kinda really sad.

    But, I’ve got to admit that as much as I hate this song, I kinda like it. What I like is that it’s an utterly mindless song, and honestly not quite as offensive as a large chunk of other music. I’m not a fan of the whole “I had this one chick completely naked” part of the song, but the “don’t have sex if she’s too gone” part is a nice touch (and then again “when it comes to condoms put two on” bit is the most misguided thing I’ve heard in a while…but at least he’s saying that people should wear condoms). I don’t know, I’m not trying to defend the guy, he’s obviously a total douche, but I don’t totally hate the song (not that it’s a good song by any stretch of the imagination, but, sometimes I like bad music).

    The video however, is pretty much beyond excusing. Everything that’s been said already I’m a college student and a member of a Sorority and would seriously love it if the whole world would stop doing this thing where they portray college life, and more specifically Greek life as solely the realm of privileged assholes. This video, and the song for that matter, perpetuates the idea that college is only fun because of drinking, that classes are irritating things that get in the way of fun time, and that Greek life is all about partying. If you don’t do those things, or fit that profile, then obviously you’re not having fun and are a loser. The more that image is pumped out there, the more people feel that they need to be that way to fit in, the more really quality people stay away from Greek life, the more people lose themselves in the process of trying to do what they’re ‘supposed’ to do and that…is very sad.

  29. Uneducated Post
    Uneducated Post May 1, 2009 at 5:58 pm |

    Have you even heard the album? Go download a copy and form your own opinion.

    and by the way, its amazing and very different from I Love College. Go do your homework.

  30. Holly
    Holly May 1, 2009 at 6:10 pm |

    I’m sorry that’s all you were able to read into any of this, but if that’s really all you understood anybody to be saying, you have a lot more reading and learning to do. Which is fine, you’re in college, you have time to do that. Keep reading blogs and asking questions, but I can’t guarantee anyone is going to have the time and patience to sit down and explain it all to you.

    Here is a little tip to get started though: it’s not about his race, or even his privilege, it’s about the fact that his music doesn’t even bother to think about any of that or reflect on it. It just sits on its lazy ass and builds on what’s come before — which is really damned rude when what came before came out of a very hard series of places.

    When that’s the situation, and you’re being that blase and laid-back about your privilege, “irony” is basically like farting in less privileged people’s faces, and borrowing styles that are developed in situations of oppression is like stepping on people’s bodies as you climb up the charts. Does that make sense?

    I guess it’s better to be doing this kind of 101-level class on privilege in a thread about some dorky white rapper than in a discussion about real problems…

  31. William
    William May 1, 2009 at 6:15 pm |

    I see Asher as basically a minstrel who forgot his black face. There seems to be an implicit joke lurking in the background involving the incongruence between the music being played, the person playing it, and the experience being expressed. The ironic smirk is based in just how out of place Asher is from his chosen medium. That kind of a joke can be hilarious (Lazy Sunday’s “Chronicles of Narnia” is a pretty good example), but the humor starts to fade when the joke seems to be aimed not at the artist but at the medium. The fact that Asher (and his inevitable stream of “post-racial” defenders) doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with making fun of black culture with his whiteness just underscores the privilege. That he then passes it off not as satire seems to suggest that he isn’t even aware of the privilege he’s playing with.

    Rap and Hip Hop are/were like punk music: genres born of a specific group of feelings and experiences in a specific cultural and historical context. The emotional charge was of desperation, release, rage, and eventually empowerment. Using that as a medium to celebrate the banal experiences of an upper-middle class college student borders on indecent. Still, even that could be forgiven in my eyes if the product had something resembling a soul. Art is it’s own defense, but this doesn’t feel like art, this doesn’t feel like a statement, or an expression, or a work of passion. It feels like a subtle joke about how silly black folk are with their simple music and their cultural poverty.

    Just because Mami has gotten a little more abstract doesn’t mean it isn’t still, at it’s core, white people laughing at black culture.

  32. Lauren
    Lauren May 1, 2009 at 6:48 pm |

    I found someone more articulate than me, and this is probably where my opinion is coming from, and after this I’ll stop pressing the issue:

  33. Lauren
    Lauren May 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm |

    Lauren II, Jay Smooth is teh awesome and I see what you’re getting at with the his video commentary, but compare what is posted above with one of the “hipster” groups he’s talking about (who are also one of my obsessions, so I’m biased). One of the culture discussed, a group understands and respects the ongoing styles, dialogues, and influences in hip hop, the other, like Joey Lawrence trying to capitalize on New Jack Swing, or Everlast (*shudder*) without the painful sincerity.

    Plus, the “god just fuck that guy” is implied based on the other ongoing conversations we have about whiteness, privilege, and appropriation. Because fuck that guy.

    If you like it, say you like it.

  34. Lauren
    Lauren May 1, 2009 at 9:16 pm |

    Or, what does “I Love College” bring to the table that’s worth fighting for?

    If the table is My Taste, and what it brings is I Like It, great.

    If the table is Lived Experience and what it brings is I’m Real Bored With My Life At The R1 University My Mom Pays For/Let’s Get Drunk, who cares?

  35. Cait
    Cait May 1, 2009 at 10:51 pm |

    OK, So, as much as I don’t look forward to being attacked for this, I kind of agree with Lauren. Which is weird, because I almost always agree with everything posted here.

    To begin with, the video posted here has slightly different lyrics than the actual song, and, as someone pointed out, is sung by a different artist. Roth’s version (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrDrCF-T88g&feature=channel) contains less offensive language.

    I guess I don’t really mind this song. In fact, I actually like it. There, I said it. I’m not saying that I think it’s really insightful, or a social commentary, but I think it’s a fun song to dance to, and one that I, as a feminist, feel pretty comfortable singing along to, since I think the lyrics aren’t really offensive toward women or other marginalized groups, especially when compared to a lot of popular rap/hip-hop songs that I hear. Also, I guess on some level, I can connect to this song–it’s about going out with friends and having a good time. Of course some people take that too far, but I think parties are a part of college culture, and as long as nothing bad comes of them (notice how he actually says “don’t have sex if she’s too far gone,” and advocates safe sex), they can be fun.

    I recognize, though, that people aren’t upset over the offensive nature of the content (since I don’t see it), but rather the fact that Roth is a member of a socioeconomic class, and race, and experiential background different from those of the artists who pioneered and developed the artistic medium he’s using, but as an artist myself, I find it incredibly problematic to say that only certain people, with certain experiences, can use a certain art form to connect to an audience and share their experiences–and whether or not you think his experiences are insignificant, that’s not our call to make, and as sad as it might make you, there’s a pretty big audience that can connect to this experience.

    I don’t think he needs to add a disclaimer to his music, apologizing for his privilege, and acknowledging the fact that he’s borrowing a style that he doesn’t really have a right to, because frankly, I think that if he as an artist can communicate a true, honest experience to an audience, he has a right to make art, and doesn’t have to justify the medium he uses. I don’t think he’s insulting those who came before him, and I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t become a part of the history and evolution of hip-hop simply because of his race (see what Matisyahu’s done for reggae).

    As a feminist, I find it problematic when art, or an artist, is criticized because the experience being related is seen as unworthy, or less worthy of being shared, especially when the content of the art isn’t offensive, and, in fact, advocates both safe sex, and warns against date rape. I feel like that’s what y’all are doing, and it really worries me, to be honest.

  36. Holly
    Holly May 1, 2009 at 11:41 pm |

    Jay Smooth is right that there’s no such thing as hipster rap, those groups don’t have all that much in common, and that it’s mostly been (mis-)identified on the basis of clothing. That said, there ARE groups that are fueled entirely by irony, which is pretty much like he makes it out too. And there’s Asher Roth, who’s like some soulless-null-irony-vortex.

  37. Lauren II
    Lauren II May 2, 2009 at 12:00 am |

    What about this Asher Roth song? That doesn’t conflict with my feminism at all. In fact it sounds awesome. It doesn’t come off as insincere to me, and neither does “I Love College” because I don’t think there’s anything sarcastic about it. I think all that comes from those other conversations about whiteness, privilege, and appropriation tinting the way it’s being received.

    Also, I’ve adjusted my name so as to avoid confusion and infringement. :)

  38. Lauren II
    Lauren II May 2, 2009 at 12:11 am |

    Also: thanks Cait! That is a lot of what I was trying to communicate. It feels weird to have to defend the white college boy, but… seriously. I don’t want to say that he’s too white and too privileged to access any form of expression, especially when what he’s expressing is so particularly agreeable to my admittedly white college feminism.

  39. Holly
    Holly May 2, 2009 at 12:21 am |

    Wow, it’s like you guys aren’t hearing anything that’s being said, you’re fighting some straw man that’s about “OMG you’re not allowed to rap if you’re white / middle class,” which I’ve gone to pains to point out is NOT actually the argument at all. I give up: officially a total waste of time, since this seems to be over whether it’s OK to like music and somehow feeling guilty about it. I can think of few things more inconsequential.

  40. Lauren II
    Lauren II May 2, 2009 at 12:36 am |

    Thanks Holly! That’s a really helpful attitude (note my insincerity–it’s just like hipster rap). I don’t think you are hearing anything that’s being said either, and I see no effort on your part to explain what I’m supposedly getting so wrong. You only insist on what you’ve already said. If the point of this forum isn’t to teach and exchange and understand more fully (sorry I turned this into a 101 class–but do know that I appreciate being condescended to because of my age), then what is it?

    I get that you’re pissed off about something, but it’s something intangible that you can’t pin to this song, which is all I’ve been talking about: What is it about this song, this artist, that’s so awful. Show me it. Maybe it’s all too big and theoretical for my tiny student’s brain, but if it’s so frustrating to explain it all to me, then enjoy your huff. The white appropriation of music on a large scale is not something I’m going to lambaste Asher Roth for. That. Does. Nothing. If that’s not what you’re talking about, I’m still willing to have it spelled out for me like I’m a child, if you can stand to do it.

  41. Faith
    Faith May 2, 2009 at 12:44 am |

    Wow you guys aren’t on Twitter and/or missed his pre-debut diss of Black women a few nights ago. He was at Rutgers last week and rehashed the Nappy Headed Hoes “joke”…fake apologized…..then had his PR kick in and claim his account had been hacked into. He completely scrubbed his account but enough people took screenshots that he can’t deny what he did. He is SUCH A POSER! And a racist/misogynistic bastard. Of course not unlike so many others but at least they try to keep it underwraps. I gave him my weekly award of shame post. http://snipurl.com/gkwp6

  42. Lauren II
    Lauren II May 2, 2009 at 1:11 am |

    Nope, I saw that. It was a repeat of the Don Imus “nappy-headed hoes” comment and THAT turned into a huge irony fail. I think is all coming down to sincerity: I believe this is all meant earnestly and with a sense of humor, others see nothing but a smirking shitbag. Seriously the other song I linked to, where Asher raps about having to come to term with his whiteness, makes me think this is an effort to hammer out an identity that no one wants to let him have.

  43. chingona
    chingona May 2, 2009 at 1:55 am |

    I shouldn’t even be participating in this because hip-hop isn’t really my thing (more of a punk rocker, not that I dislike hip hop, but I don’t know anything about it other than hearing songs in the collections of friends), but Lauren II … that other song you linked? He says his slang be what’s saving hip-hop. Do you not think that’s a problem? Or do you think he doesn’t really mean it?

    I don’t know. Something about his stuff just struck me as wrong, and it’s not cause he’s white. There are other white rappers who didn’t sit so wrong with me like this guy. Sydney way back up @ 6 with his analogy to having a punk rock song about shopping for Vera Wang dresses made sense to me. No, not everything that you might want to say can actually be expressed in any medium you choose while still respecting the medium, for one thing.

    For a second thing, to me he doesn’t come off as a smirking shitbag. He actually does come off as earnest and that’s part of the problem. He’s so clueless that he can do a song about how he always thought it would be cool to be black but now he’s learned to accept his whiteness and hopes other people will accept him for his whiteness (cause people are so unaccepting of whiteness) that includes a line about him saving hip-hop and mean it with a totally straight face. WTF?

  44. Erika
    Erika May 2, 2009 at 2:08 am |

    Oh jeez. It’d be hypocritical and inauthentic for white college kids to listen to rap, so they have to resort to trite bullshit like Asher Roth? REALLY Lauren? Because I’ll admit to being incredibly privileged in discussions of race/education/etc–I went straight from prep school to Bowdoin College, for fucks sake–but, uh, I like rap. And Asher Roth sucks. And I guess you could say that it’s hypocritical and inauthentic of me to enjoy music with some substance because it’s not relevant to my own life, but that’s a pretty shitty argument. So moving on.

    One of the biggest problems with Asher Roth is the hype. He benefits SO MUCH from being a white rapper, someone kind of unusual, with an “interesting” schtick; he’s so much more famous than he deserves to be. Honestly, I’m not going to take him to task for the misogyny or racism (besides the obvious benefiting from his white privilege) that may/may not be in his lyrics, because tons of popular artists are just as bad. Asher Roth is certainly not unique in that respect. He is, however, being treated like a revolutionary just because he’s appropriating a genre in an “ironic” way to talk about college culture and he’s white. Neither of those things are particularly innovative, quite frankly, and it’s pretty pathetic that he’s made an entire career out of it.

  45. Lorelei
    Lorelei May 2, 2009 at 4:06 am |

    oh. my beef with asher roth is that i interpreted from his ~*lyrics*~ that he was trying to make fun of hiphop. like ‘hiphop is all about clubbing and partying and objectifying women apparently [which is apparently what most people think it's all about], but i’m gonna write this ironic song making fun of that because i’m so original and that’s not what music should be about, guys, IT’S A STATEMENT!!!!1~’ or some shit. which i think is, at best, stereotyping the genre, and at worst, racist (because honestly, all music genres have a majority of hits about partying and/or objectifying women).

    did i completely misintepret this? i don’t know if i explained my thought well, but now i’m all confused. :(

  46. Lorelei
    Lorelei May 2, 2009 at 4:06 am |

    also, doublebagging is bad condom policy and it’s prooty stupid that he mentions it in the song.

  47. Lorelei
    Lorelei May 2, 2009 at 4:08 am |

    oh, here we go, i should have read all the comments: exactly what William said. that’s what i was trying to say and failed at 5AM, lol.

  48. DARK
    DARK May 2, 2009 at 6:51 am |

    Pathetic song and pathetic rapper he has no substance or any lyrical ability, his voice is mediocre nothing really special about it, so i am confused when i decided to check out some reviews on him that i actually read ” HE COULD TAKE THE KING OF RAP CROWN OFF EMINEM” that must be the most absurd thing i ever read in my life, now Eminem is white and we acknowledge he gets some of his REP for being white, but the difference bettween these two are, EMINEM has an out of this world rap voice that cant be described he was born to rap, his lyrics are masterpieces and he is respected in the industry from rapper like JAY-Z and NAS and the best not because his white but because he has substance and talent, ROTH has none he seems really ordinary and boring, and he dosen’t have the looks EMINEM had the women eating out of his hand. My conclusion is that his mediocre and ill hate to see him become a super star on the notion his white and raps about being FRAT BOY. i say it my friends agree eminem is the only credible white rapper he has grew up living in HIP-POP in detroit around other rappers and thats why we respect him his worked his butt to get here and now this college loser in a blink has been given a record deal on the notion his white, you can understand eminem but not this guy,

  49. yesbut
    yesbut May 2, 2009 at 8:15 am |

    i have one more level of Fail to add: that guitar riff is stolen from Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So,” which is about Rivers Cuomo’s fear that his stepfather is following his father’s path to alcoholism. so yeah, naturally because you love that song you want to take it and turn it into a party anthem about getting wasted.

    also, i don’t think we should give him a feminist cookie for ‘promoting safe sex’ and reminding dudes not to “have sex if she’s too gone.” with reference to the latter, i can see where you’re coming from, but only because i expect so little in sex-positive messaging in pop music.

    as for the safe sex… well, i’m just sorry the school system has failed him so badly. when it comes to condoms, put two on? sounds like somebody’s getting their facts from Derek Dye.

  50. Lauren
    Lauren May 2, 2009 at 10:22 am |

    My irritation with Asher Roth and a slew of artists like him is in part what lizvelrene was saying upthread:

    What’s frustrating is that this music will be played on mainstream “rock” radio as a “crossover”, guaranteed. Just like Eminem was. Alternative radio stations would throw on Eminem in the middle of a solid block of rock tracks, and would call it musical diversity. The same stations would never play Mos Def. Outkast had to get remixed by Rage Against the Machine to get crossover play, for crissakes. Black hiphop artists do not get the kind of cross-promotion that white hiphop artists do. Is it because the music is more accessible, or because the artist is white?

    Rock radio is default “white-oriented” (and the insanity of THAT is a whole other topic) they only recognize other genres when white artists do them. See also: blues, jazz, etc. All they have to do is be barely competent, and they will be everywhere. But superior hiphop artists don’t get this exposure if they are people of color.

    Yes.

    And also, let me have my hate. It comforts me.

  51. Walt Byars
    Walt Byars May 2, 2009 at 11:40 am |

    Asher Roth is pure junk. Cocaine Blunts and Hip Hop were accurate in their observation about Roth and Charles Hamilton : “The labels have abandoned the traditional model of finding the underground hits and breaking them, the model that has produced almost every significant rap act of the past twenty years. They are suddenly so arrogant to think they can create hip hop stars in a petri dish. ”

    That said, I have to disagree with what Holly said here:

    “it’s about the fact that his music doesn’t even bother to think about any of that or reflect on it. It just sits on its lazy ass and builds on what’s come before — which is really damned rude when what came before came out of a very hard series of places.”

    The political or “conscious” rap song is a cliche which has become tired for a reason. All too often it is simply saying nothing that anyone doesn’t already know and doesn’t take advantage of the relation between lyrics and music and emotion (leaving the content no better suited to a song than a blog entry). This isn’t to say great political rap songs can’t be made, but If Asher Roth of all people rapped about how he had unearned privilege relative to the bulk of rappers and the culture hip hop comes from, is it the slightest bit plausible that it would avoid these pitfalls?

    It is also relevant that the political and socially conscious rap cliche is especially concentrated amongst “backpacker” or “indie” (or might we just call them people milking every last drop out of the mid 90s east coast style and then saying hip hop is dying because the variant they like is so moribund) for rappers and fans- that (not at all discreetly separate) subculture of hip hop where there are is some legitimately great music but for a large part is a fandom based on a fairly racist ignorance (although everyone in it isn’t white by a longshot). Where superifically complex rhyme schemes (people get way more excited over multies than they should be) or discussion of “intelligent” topics like politics or philosophy because this group of fans hasn’t developed their ear enough to understand more subtle skills wrt rhyme schemes or talking about topics in a clever way. Some of the hype of indie rap seems based on the fact that these people came from listening to genres where the mainstream mass marketed stuff is indeed the consequence of decades of the phenomenon described in the CBHH quote above, and they assume that hip hop must be the same. Of course, it is racist ideology which causes many whites to conclude that black mainstream rappers who are rapping about money and possessions are always glorifying crass materialism, that black mainstream rappers talking about crime and violence are always praising the “gangsta” lifestyle, that those talking about sex explicitly are in all cases objectifying women. That’s part of the way racism is driving backpacker and indie rap. The other piece of the puzzle is that many indie rap fans have deemed themselves arbiters of what good hip hop is and made their judgments based on these flawed assumptions, and are fairly arrogant about it. The only way this could happen is through the classic white ideology of assuming that the opinions of people of color and worth anything and no one need pay attention to them. These attitudes couldn’t have flourished if these folks bothered to engage with the opinions of the bulk of people heavily involved with hip hop culture. Now, Asher Roth isn’t a backpack rapper but it seems that this frat boy rap is coming out of much the same place. My point is that if he made a hacky political song it would further enmesh him with everything that is white supremacist about hip hop.

    I would also ask why it is more important for a white person using black art forms to discuss their privilege than it is for any other white person. That if they gain so much from black culture, they should have the gratitude to do at least something as minimally anti racist as this is a good reason. But why does it need to be in his music? The point that often comes up in discussions of appropriation, that when whites appropriate aspects of other cultures the meaning of these cultural items is obscured and trivialized, is not a good reason. Everybody knows where hip hop came from, they are aware of the process of hip hop becoming mainstream among whites, and they know that Asher Roth has lots of privilege through no virtue of his own. Him incorporating some political statement into his music isn’t going to change that? I am interested in what your reasoning is, Holly. You said that what he is doing is rude to the people who pioneered hip hop, but while so many people have commented negatively on Roth for a myriad of good reasons, I haven’t heard anyone say they felt insulted by Roth building on their work without acknowledging the different context he comes from.

  52. Cory
    Cory May 2, 2009 at 12:42 pm |

    Cait: –I too have a problem saying that a person can’t use a certain artistic style to express her or his experiences just because they don’t “belong” to the group that pioneered it, or even because that artist isn’t necessarily using the art form to further the cause it came from. But artistic styles aren’t purely aesthetic; hip-hop, like other forms of art, is tied to a certain socio-political struggle, and to use that style to express other messages can be offensive. In this case it is.

    Hip-hop doesn’t “belong” to people of color, but a quick look at the past few decades proves that it definitely has a history and a purpose. Asher Roth betrays that purpose. So do a lot of chart-topping rappers of color. We could get into a long debate about the commercialization of art forms, but I think we’re all pretty clear on that story: hip-hop in its contemporary popular form has definitely been reduced to something crass. Defending Roth’s use of the medium to celebrate something so utterly thoughtless as “artistic expression” seems to give him a lot more credit than he’s due, so I have no problems criticizing his “artistic” choices.

    If I heard this song’s lyrics out of the context of the musical style, I’d probably just roll my eyes because it’s a celebration of something I see as pretty dumb, and, yeah, an unfair privilege. I have little sympathy for people who go to college when many others can’t, spend their time drinking and partying, and look at actual academic work as a nuisance. His use of the style bothers me so much more because he uses a music genre associated with struggle and hardship and uses it to celebrate complacency.

  53. angie
    angie May 2, 2009 at 1:07 pm |

    Thanks to Holly for really great, thoughtful, clear contributions to this thread, first.

    As to this ‘actual music’ … it sounds like shit to me. It doesn’t flow, it’s clunky and slow, it has a slurring cadence I enjoy in my country music and but not my rap, ’cause it doesn’t have any bounce or snap to it. I hate Eminem, but he had flow. (new single sucks.)

    Next: if these lyrics are what pass for “feminist” now days … I don’t even know where to begin. This is heteronormative, ableist, sizeist, classist, you name it. Hey gay dudes, just keep shouting I love women if you love college! That’s how it works, right? Hey ladies, hope you’re hot and skinny enough to get into Asher’s bad-ass ‘beer pong-ing, sleep all day ’cause I don’t need to work, smokin’ weed’ PAR-TAY, ’cause last night I heard he had some chick completely naked (LOLZ!) and he was wishing he had taped it. GOOD TIMES, that sounds like a fella who is really going to respect you.

    Lauren II, it seems clear you don’t actually want to engage with anyone in this thread, you just want to ask why they aren’t educating you properly about feminism and privilege and don’t want to just admit you like this song and so are sensitive about people saying they don’t. But I will say: it doesn’t matter how young you are and it doesn’t matter how ‘new’ to feminism you are. These are not excuses. Besides an amazing blogroll on this site as well as links to the diverse personal blogs of all the contributors, people have provided you with several good links to essays and blogs that you could use to begin to inform yourself, not to mention the original Pitchfork review linked here which does an excellent job critiquing ALL of Roth’s work from a purely musical and artistic POV, and you still act like no one will engage with you. This is just false. Furthermore: you seem very close to responding that Jill saying that Roth is ‘everything that is wrong with the world’ must mean she doesn’t care about REAL ISSUES when this is just a white boy rapping and what’s so bad about THAT?!! Careful where you tread with that, it’s insulting.

    tl;dr, I know.

  54. Lauren
    Lauren May 2, 2009 at 1:29 pm |

    Blog Lesson #376: “Asher Roth is everything that is wrong with the world” is meant to be hyperbolic, and usually when some truly unimportant thing is held up as The Thing That Will End The World on a blog, it’s meant to provoke a fun fight about what is and is not teh awesome.

    See Yolanda C, Norbizness, and Ash as excellent examples of this wild and crazy, impersonal, not-meant-to-hurt-your-feelings phenomenon.

  55. Cait
    Cait May 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm |

    Again, I apologize–I know it’s not an excuse, Angie, but I, like Lauren, am a student; I read blogs like this to learn, and I almost always understand and agree with what I read. I don’t get this. Lauren and I have tried asking questions–I think quite respectfully–and pointing out some flaws we see in the reasons y’all are so upset, and in response people have been openly hostile, and criticized us for not getting it. Right! I don’t get it–please help me! Angie, I’m not saying that y’all have this huge responsibility to inform me on every aspect of feminism, I’m just asking that you let me know what, about this man, and this song, causes a feminist to get so upset, because I consider myself to be pretty informed, and pretty understanding, and I just don’t see it. I don’t think it’s too much to ask (politely) for y’all to try to clarify your reasons for being so upset–Lauren and I (and perhaps others reading this) are legitimately trying to understand the “hate,” but can’t, and if you’re going to make such strong statements against something, I think you should be prepared to be able to explain them.

    That being said, I think the criticism of the quality of his music “from a purely musical and artistic POV” is sort of moot in this discussion. A lot of people don’t like the song. Fine. I do. I know a lot of people who do. That’s subjective, and doesn’t explain why we’re discussing him on this site. Furthermore, I typically don’t hate someone just because I don’t like their music.

    In terms of his whiteness and privilege, well…I stand by what I said before. If he’s connecting with a large audience over a medium he’s clearly invested a lot into, and sharing an honest experience, I don’t think anyone can say he doesn’t have as much of a right as anyone to do so. Cory, I understand that hip-hop is tied to a certain struggle, but that doesn’t mean that all hip-hop needs to reflect that struggle. Kanye West doesn’t, to my knowledge, get criticized when he writes a song that’s in the medium of hip-hop, but doesn’t reflect the struggle related to the genre; Matisyahu, to my knowledge, didn’t draw a lot of criticism for being from an entirely different background and having entirely different content than most reggae artists–in fact, he was lauded for bringing in a new audience, since people who otherwise wouldn’t listen to reggae could connect to Matisyahu’s experiences/message in a way they couldn’t with traditional reggae. Maybe Asher Roth will serve as sort of “gateway” hip-hop for someone who, like myself, doesn’t really enjoy the genre that much because I feel like the experiences related in hip-hop are so far removed from my own, and often involve demeaning women, and promoting violence and materialism.

    This song isn’t guilty of any of those, as far as I’m concerned. Angie, I feel like you’re adding a lot to the song that simply isn’t there, and if we’re going to criticize hip-hop’s treatment of women, this is CERTAINLY not the place to start.

    In terms of irony, I can see how this would be offensive if it was ironic, but I don’t see irony–this isn’t a one-time thing–this man’s trying to make a career out of an art form he clearly respects, and thinks he has a talent for. He seems completely genuine, and the experience he’s relating is being received and enjoyed by a large audience–genuinely, with no trace of irony.

    So, lastly, in terms of the “boost” he’ll get for being white, yes, I can see how that’s unfair, but the only reason to hate the man himself for it would be if he began making music with the mindset of “Wow, I’m white, and I’m going to make music in an industry where my race will be a novelty, thus propelling me to the top regardless of my skills.” As I don’t think there’s any reason to believe he began making art with that mindset, this is more of a criticism of the industry’s and the public’s perception of him. Again, though, I think this fascination with his race might actually be a gain for hip-hop, as, like Matis did, it’s possible that Roth will attract new listeners to a heretofore foreign-seeming genre.

    I apologize if anything in this post seems at all rude or confrontational–I assure you I have respect for everyone here, and am simply trying to understand. If anything I said comes off as hostile, please be assured that it wasn’t meant that way, and chalk it up to the failings of the internet to communicate tone.

    Now, can someone please explain to me, given everything I’ve articulated in this post, why I, as a feminist, ought to hate Asher Roth?

  56. Cara
    Cara May 2, 2009 at 2:25 pm |

    Maybe Asher Roth will serve as sort of “gateway” hip-hop for someone who, like myself, doesn’t really enjoy the genre that much because I feel like the experiences related in hip-hop are so far removed from my own, and often involve demeaning women, and promoting violence and materialism.

    Um, “I had this one girl completely naked” being repeated over and over again doesn’t exactly sound like a super progressive, feminist view of women and sexuality as a mutually pleasurable experience for both parties involved, rather than a total conquest in which access to a woman is a prize to be won.

    I’m just saying. Lots of music is demeaning to women, it’s not just rap, and plenty of white boy rappers say stupid sexist shit, too.

    Further, there should just be some kind of goddamn rule against putting unsafe sex advice in a fucking song (wearing two condoms only makes them more likely to break folks, spread the word NOW, and seriously are we still not past this?). Since I believe you said earlier that he’s “advocating safe sex.” Actually, he’s spreading stupid urban myths that make sex a lot less safe. And it’s dangerous and it pisses me off, frankly.

    But as for why you, as a feminist, ought to hate ASher Roth? Seriously, who on this thread said that you should, as a feminist, hate Asher Roth? In fact, Jill said explicitly upthread that no one is going to take away a feminist card for doing so.

    So color me the one confused.

  57. Cait
    Cait May 2, 2009 at 2:39 pm |

    Cara, thanks for replying.

    To begin with, I took the “wear two condoms” advice to be hyperbolic, and just making a point that you ought to be very careful, but I can see how it could be really problematic if people took it on face.

    I also understand that my “feminist card” won’t be confiscated,–and believe me I never thought that y’all’s approval is what determines my status of feminist–but that’s not what I’m concerned with–sorry that I didn’t make it clear enough. I’m trying to find out why so many people whom I typically agree with are so furious and riled up over something that doesn’t really bug me at all. This is obviously disconcerting, and I’m trying to understand the cause of the outrage. I feel like I’m missing something pretty big, and I’m simply trying to understand what it is.

  58. prairielily
    prairielily May 2, 2009 at 2:52 pm |

    What I got from this post was not that Jill is legitimately blaming Asher Roth for the downfall of hip-hop, but commenting that he sucks, skeeves her out, and that his whole rich white boy persona that makes her uncomfortable. That aside, it really is ok to like the song. I can even see myself swaying to it, if I was 19, drunk as hell at a trashy house party, and hanging off an equally drunk pretty preppy boy of mediocre intelligence who is entertaining enough at the time.

    It’s an image where I’m really passive and not quite in my right mind, and that’s really what bothers me about the song. It’s celebrating mediocrity and passivity, and how awesome that is. There’s no desire to do anything, or affect anything, except get wasted and laid. It’s so empty, and it’s not empty because the people have been roadblocked in all their efforts. They could really do anything they want, because they’re upper-middle-class, white, and in university, but they’re so wrapped up in their insular bubble that they don’t care.

    It’s like… they used to listen to mainstream rap performed by black people at their parties, but now they don’t have to, because some other rich white kid is just telling them about their own lives now, and they can sing along at the top of their lungs about how awesome they are. “Bankhead? Fuck that. I don’t even really know where it is. I love college!”

  59. Greg
    Greg May 2, 2009 at 3:37 pm |

    If you really think the song is good, then you really need to go out and find more hip hop artists, because Asher Roth is really not that good. To each their own, whatever floats your boat, and all the jazz aside, your first voyage into the world of rap should not come from some rich yuppie white dude. Get some Jungle Brothers, Scarface, Biggie, whatever, and then listen to Asher Roth. He’s to rap music what Jimmy Fallon is to comedy, smirky, shit eating grinning tool who really does not deserve to be where he is today. With so many other people trying to make rap music, its offensive that this oddity gets a record deal just because he is an oddity.Go out and educate yourself, no one will ever do it for you. And again, please go to http://www.womanist-musings.com/. I’m trying to point people in the right direction, but thats as far as I’m willing to go, because its not my responsibility or anyone elses to educate you other than yourself.

  60. Tappy
    Tappy May 2, 2009 at 3:40 pm |

    Funny, soulja says YOU!!! on a track, gets money and noone says nuthing, Asher comes with I love college, a song that might be slighty stupid but has dope lyrics none the less and gets hated on. Why? Not because hes white but because people like the idea of having only one white rapper (Em)

    Best Rappers (in no particular order):

    Drake, Asher Roth, T.I., Talib Kweli, Eminem, Charles Hamiton, Wale, Kanye west, Bobby Ray.

  61. Drew
    Drew May 2, 2009 at 3:56 pm |

    Asher Roth has the right to rap about the world that he lives in: one of college excess, parties and women. But calling it fantastic and revolutionary is like calling Paris Hilton an actress. It’s fluff, and that’s all there is. The lyrics to “I Love College” resemble that of a ridiculous frat guy who will probably end up working for his father. Sure, you’re allowed to enjoy college, but if that’s all you have to sing about, that’s pretty pathetic.

    There is no real message behind Asher Roth’s rap other than the fact that he thinks he’s AWESOME. Sorry, but I’m not convinced that Asher Roth will be anything more than a fad that Abercrombie-and-Fitch wearers can jam to. I can’t imagine him getting to the mainstream, because I can’t imagine most people taking his lyrics seriously.

    And yes, he does objectify women, not just in “I Love College” but in “Lark on a Go Cart” as well. Rap tends to be a little chauvenistic, but if there is something else brought to the table, artists are remembered (compare to Eminem’s Stan). But if a rap artist decides to rap about women and things, and that’s it, well then he’s nothing more than a tool to sell stupid teenagers crap they will never need (see the movie Josie and the Pussycats). I’m a college student, and yet find Asher Roth to be everything that is wrong with this materialistic world.

  62. Harumph
    Harumph May 2, 2009 at 4:07 pm |

    I’ve been on the fence about nerdcore for years because of some of this stuff.

    I’d actually love to write a guest thread about this sort of Love and Theft… Hm..

  63. Kara
    Kara May 2, 2009 at 4:27 pm |

    This whole debate is ridiculous. Asher Roth is clearly just adhering to our economic system, and producing a product that is marketable. So what? If you don’t like him, don’t listen to him. Hes not infringing upon you, you don’t have to like him and really, in the grand scheme of things, hes doesn’t matter at all. More then likely he will be a one-hit wonder as his current popularity is stemming completely from his ability to bring ‘the college experience’ into the media.

    What really is irritating is this feminist approach to the song. Asher is not advocating that girls be taken advantage of, or that all girls are ‘easy’ or ‘sluts’. He is simply commenting on a section of society that exists.

    Every night there are flocks of girls walking past my apartment on their way to house parties dressed provocatively. They’re clearly not dressing like this just to have fun (what is comfortable about heels and skin-tight dresses? especially in winter). They’re dressing like this because they want to look ‘easy’ and approachable. They don’t care about impressing guys through their intelligence, wit or personality. They, just like the guys Asher is representing, just want to get drunk and have sex. If anything, talk to these girls about how they’re representing the gender and the standards they’re affirming through doing so.

    But really, so what? Let people live their lives the way they want to. Stop bitching about the ‘downfall of hiphop’ and placing qualifications upon who can rap and who can’t. Stop blaming Asher for what college students for years have glorified. If you have a problem with the current trends in society, addressing them at such a basic level will get you no where. Attack the market that buys into this crap – not the artists who are producing it.

  64. Addie
    Addie May 2, 2009 at 4:55 pm |

    Cait: You’re at the important step of realizing there’s a disconnect between your take on this and the objections of people you usually agree with, but you’re really not going to understand where we objectors are coming from till you work through the reasons for the disconnect yourself.

    It’s just something that has to happen in your own mind–that’s how resolving cognitive dissonance works. So, really, just sit with it–let it keep gnawing at your mind, keep thinking through what people here have brought up, read the links people have given you and keep thinking about what’s there, think about how what you’re reading ties into other things you know about, don’t let yourself feel too embarrassed about the possibility of having been wrong in public, and you’ll eventually start to see how the general concept of “privilege”–which I believe you already understand–is tied in with particular objections in this case.

    It’s uncomfortable to do all that, but it’s not shameful. Just about everyone who cares about not being offensive and who’s bothered to open their mouth on a topic where they have privilege has had to go through it. And if you push yourself to do it once, it gets easier to avoid having to do it in public, and, eventually, to head off being offensive at the pass. It also gets a lot easier to recognize how patterns of privilege and oppression work–eventually you start seeing how the world works in a different and, in my opinion, much more accurate way.

    There’s an actual mental switch you can achieve–I remember my scores on those Implicit Association tests changing. But that mental change has to come from internal work.

  65. J
    J May 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm |

    Again, I apologize–I know it’s not an excuse, Angie, but I, like Lauren, am a student; I read blogs like this to learn, and I almost always understand and agree with what I read. I don’t get this. Lauren and I have tried asking questions–I think quite respectfully–and pointing out some flaws we see in the reasons y’all are so upset, and in response people have been openly hostile, and criticized us for not getting it. Right! I don’t get it–please help me! Angie, I’m not saying that y’all have this huge responsibility to inform me on every aspect of feminism, I’m just asking that you let me know what, about this man, and this song, causes a feminist to get so upset, because I consider myself to be pretty informed, and pretty understanding, and I just don’t see it. I don’t think it’s too much to ask (politely) for y’all to try to clarify your reasons for being so upset–Lauren and I (and perhaps others reading this) are legitimately trying to understand the “hate,” but can’t, and if you’re going to make such strong statements against something, I think you should be prepared to be able to explain them.

    Cait, I have been following this discussion (it’s finals and I’m procrastinating), I have to say that people have been a lot more patient with you and Lauren than I would’ve been. I didn’t feel a need to comment because several people have already clearly articulated why they dislike Asher Roth from both an artistic and social perspective (if you accept the premise that those two criteria are separate, and in this case, it’s not clear that they are). It’s one thing to disagree, and it’s another to repeatedly argue against a position that no one is taking. I’m not going to bother repeating what Angie, Holly and others have already said. Furthermore, other people (Greg) have offered suggestions of readings and websites.

    However, I do feel the need to comment in general on this victimized “why aren’t you teaching me?” tone because it is really, really bothering me. I believe that many of the feminist websites I read are meant to be a community space where people of all levels can participate in these discussions. At the same time, I think a lot of the “I’m just here to learn” comments have very little to do with actual learning. It always seems to involve people who have barely made an attempt to educate themselves on an issue basically saying, ” Can you please justify being angry, offended, or hurt by this? It doesn’t bother me, so why should you be mad?” It’s dismissive and it’s entitled. I wish that a lack of familiarity with an issue was the only problem, but it’s not. It’s amazing to me that you keep asking people to explain things to you while you respond with what basically amounts to a shrug of the shoulders and an “I don’t see it.” Feminists spend so much time fending off charges that they need to lighten up and not be so sensitive. Yet, you are really stunned that people respond to your “not getting it” with exasperation.

    And enough with the apologies. As a woman of color, I have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen privileged women resort to whining that they are being attacked or that others are too angry whenever they are confronted about that privilege. Maybe the problem isn’t that I’m angry, but rather that you aren’t. Again, people have repeatedly stated what their problem is. If you disagree, then disagree and we can all go our separate ways. However, don’t pretend like this is about people being mean and not explaining things to you when really, you deserve a super special cookie for being such an understanding ally who is just trying to learn. It’s great that you are a student, but I’m not a professor, and I’m sure as hell not getting paid to hold your hand while you “unpack the knapsack.” As my mother would say, read.a.book.

  66. Really?
    Really? May 2, 2009 at 8:43 pm |

    Asher Roth knows his song is stupid he has said it a million times. I don’t think the song is celebrating passivity, sometimes you really do just want to have fun.

    Real Hip Hop artists have embraced him because they know that with Hip Hop there is a time and place for everything. I’m going to go with Chuck from the Cool Kids and say that I don’t want to hear Talib Kweli at a party. I grew up listening to an array of music and my mother worked in the Hip Hop industry as a party promoter for a record company and helped with PR for Notorious B.I.G, so I listened to Hip Hop a lot growing up.

    Still, I don’t have a problem with Asher because I’m in college and when this song comes on people lose their shit. It’s the one time at a party where everyone stops what they are doing and sings along. You may think it’s irrelevant because of the CHUG CHUG FRESHMAN deal but no matter where I am when this song comes on college kids, including myself, get really happy. When you’re at a party you listen to party songs because you want to dance. When I am in my room I am listening to A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def, Kweli, and a slew of other artists. Sometimes I feel like listening to Luda sometimes I feel like listening Lupe. One moment I’m all about Taylor Swift and Britney Spears and the next I’m listening to P!nk. Every time someone doesn’t come out with a crazy intellectual rap song people freak out and talk about the decline of the industry and blah blah blah but music fans know where to get real shit if they want it.

    Besides everyone acts like he is talking about raping people and stuff and he actually really likes women and has a song on his album about leaving women alone in the club because sometimes they just want to dance with their friends. He is always talking about how he loves his sisters and his mom and his ex-girlfriend. He also has songs about how people need to start reading more and picking up the trash they throw in the street. In all these interviews he is always discussing the importance eating healthy things. Of course he has silly stuff but not everyone is all serious all the time.

    Tupac (who I would never EVER compare Asher too) had songs about social issues but he also had some kinda stupid songs. Mos has serious stuff but some freaky stuff too. People are not all one thing. I’m a feminist but just like our women at Feministing, know we all have our Un-feminist guilty pleasures. Dr. Martin Luther King was an upstanding citizen who changed the world but cheated on his wife like crazy.

    I just don’t think it’s a big deal. We have a lot more scary rap out there I have heard things like “The Whisper Song” which I know is old but songs like this are still out there and that song was creepy as fuck. Yet you were talking about “I Love College”? I understand everyone’s concerns and points of view but he knows how idiotic his song is and real Hip Hop fans know where to go if they want substance. Also I think we should also bring up record companies because his ex-girlfriend said in I believe a Philly magazine that she has no idea why he is being marketed as a frat guy because he isn’t like that at all. He made her promise him that she would never ever date a frat boy. Apparently she is concerned about this getting taken too far, in fact, Asher is too, he has said multiple times that though he enjoys a good party he would much rather hang out with friends and sleep.

    He has also said that it sounds fun to to sleep around with tons of women but he would feel guilty about doing it. College kids really do love this song and we’re not so stupid that we can’t understand how insipid the song is. The song is all in good fun and I look forward to hearing it at parties which it is pretty much a standard at by now. IDK I just think there are sooo many worse songs and worse people to talk about. Jim Jones? He is a scary dude. Asher? Just some dude who wouldn’t harm a fly.

  67. Tai-Tai
    Tai-Tai May 2, 2009 at 8:49 pm |

    Oh no college kids rapping about college. The horror.

  68. Julie
    Julie May 2, 2009 at 10:14 pm |

    That is pretty much the worst rap I’ve ever heard- and I used to like both Vanilla Ice and Eminem. Yikes.

  69. chava
    chava May 2, 2009 at 11:06 pm |

    “Besides everyone acts like he is talking about raping people and stuff and he actually really likes women and has a song on his album about leaving women alone in the club because sometimes they just want to dance with their friends. He is always talking about how he loves his sisters and his mom and his ex-girlfriend. He also has songs about how people need to start reading more and picking up the trash they throw in the street. In all these interviews he is always discussing the importance eating healthy things. Of course he has silly stuff but not everyone is all serious all the time.”

    Errr, “silly stuff” like “raping people and stuff”? I smell “but feminism is SO SERIOUS and not FUN.”

  70. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh May 3, 2009 at 12:06 am |

    Other than the song being simply dumb and boring musically (IMHO), the song does bother me because he *is* singing out of his unearned priviledge.

    I’m currently out of college right now because I can’t afford books, and right now a lot of avenues of paying for my books are closed to me. I’m a woman of color who’s attended a college in a town of mostly poor/working class people of color. Only about 10% of the students at our college are white (and those who are white are as poor as everyone else), many of the students are the children of migrant farm workers, and many also entered college as teenage parents, so our college experience is very different than the suburban middle-class white college experience. We had a lot more on our mind than getting drunk and sleeping till 10 am. That he doesn’t examine that priviledge is one of the things that gets under my skin.

  71. Harumph
    Harumph May 3, 2009 at 1:13 am |

    “Rap and Hip Hop are/were like punk music: genres born of a specific group of feelings and experiences in a specific cultural and historical context. The emotional charge was of desperation, release, rage, and eventually empowerment.”

    Actually… no? The vast majority of early hip hop is just about having a good time. It was made as social/party music, after all. It -became- an outlet for other things -eventually-…

  72. Cola
    Cola May 3, 2009 at 2:58 am |

    Harumph! Yay Nerdcore! It makes me feel so happy inside. Okay, most of it.

  73. hydropsyche
    hydropsyche May 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm |

    As a grad student, this song bothers me because it is celebrating the worst aspect of undergraduate culture. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to try to teach in this culture at the large universities. Dealing with drunkeness, tardiness, excessive absences, and cheating get in the way of teaching those students who actually go to college to learn things.

    Oh, and he can’t rap very well, either.

  74. madeleine
    madeleine May 3, 2009 at 2:05 pm |

    I think this song is stupid and offensive. I’m not sure that Asher Roth has to be crucified, since he isn’t the first or the last to make obnoxious music, but I can tell you that I hate it and I would like never to hear it again.

    The first time I heard this song I was in the car with my boyfriend and he said “UGH I want to like this song because it’s catchy, but when you hear the lyrics…” He doesn’t like it because “that’s not what college is.” I’m not sure about the privilege/hip hop culture argument, because I don’t really know anything about that, but I found the song offensive on so many levels.

    @ Lauren forever ago in 23, “And I’m downloading this song since it’s also up on (1) not taking advantage of drunk girls and (2) using condoms. What’s wrong with this?”

    (1) “Not taking advantage of drunk girls” is under the “I can’t tell you what I learned from school but/I could tell you a story or two, um/Yeah, of course I learned some rules” umbrella, which it means it took him college to learn that. And I’m sorry “Don’t have sex if she’s too gone,” okay I’m glad he’s not advocating it, but the phrasing doesn’t exactly get a cookie, it still normalizes the whole go-out-and-fuck-drunk-bitches aspect of college, which turns my stomach.

    (2) tell me that’s a joke?

    As for why it bothers my boyfriend, and this is one of the things that ticks me off as well–I LOVE COLLEGE. I really do. I’m a senior, and I would give anything not to graduate a week from today. But you know what? It has NOTHING to do with boozing and naked women. I believe in the value of learning and education, and I plan to stay in Academia for as long as possible. Okay, so fine, that’s me and my ivory tower, not everyone feels that way, but let me point out that tuition at my school is over 160,000 for four years. No, I am not spending that money to get wasted, and I prickle at the people who perpetuate the idea that that’s what college is about. I couldn’t wait to go to college, and I was heartbroken and disappointed when I got here to find all the rich kids spending their parents money to get wasted. Why spend the money? (And hey, I love a good night out with my friends, it’s just the idea that this the only reason I’m here that makes me so mad.) Anyway, I just don’t like this song because it’s the ultimate example of the things that make my blood boil about college. My boyfriend isn’t such a fan of Academe, but he gets mad because he spends his weekends in the library working his butt off, while the frat-boy world co-opts the importance of his education and hard work.

    @Lauren again in 4 “…because I go to the King of Ironic White Kids Liberal Arts schools in Sarasota FLA of all white privileged places, and if this is upsetting… you don’t know from douchey hipster white kids who think we’re post-feminism, -racism, -notbeingdicks. Maybe I’m desensitized? Please explain.”

    Does this song literally describe your college experience? Are you okay with this treatment of your education? Is drinking the reason you wanted to go to college? Do you believe that your degree will mean something about the work you did?

    Maybe you are okay with all of that, but there are some people that aren’t.

  75. Julie
    Julie May 3, 2009 at 2:20 pm |

    Exactly madeline. I love being in college (again!) but it’s because I love my classes and I’ve made awesome friends. I enjoy going out with my friends, it’s not like I do nothing but study, but that’s certainly not the be all and end all of college. Even if I was joking the other day that I was going to skip textbooks next year and spend the money directly on alcohol and caffeine.

  76. Lauren II
    Lauren II May 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm |

    I’ve tried to stay quiet because I only seem to stir stuff up, but I’ll address specific people.

    madeleine: I think maybe it takes until college to learn how to treat girls because a lot of people don’t have significant or sexual contact with the opposite sex until then (perhaps some dorky white kid who wanted to be a rapper in high school? Probably didn’t get laid much?). Also, the thing about condoms sounds like to me like, “Go condoms, they rule! In fact, put them all on at once because they’re so great.” It’s not literal advice, it’s hyperbole to highlight the awesomeness that is protected sex. You might hear it differently. Quite. I don’t think any of us are hearing exactly the same song.

    As for does this song describe my college experience: some of it. The sleep all day, have fun all night, don’t ever want to leave Neverland part. Believe me when I say that my friends and I make fun of the people who get drunk Tuesday night ONLY BECAUSE there is no class on Wednesday and who show up late and fuck off all the time. I don’t drink at all (too much alcoholism in family), but I don’t want to tell people they can’t get crazy wasted in college. It’s the time and the place. I finished all my finals and papers a month early (which is why I have time to dink around on blogs) because I take my education seriously, but I could do the reading and thinking at home if I had to. The best part about campus life is the shit in this song; you won’t get that anywhere else ever again.

    J: my problem is with the argument, “I don’t like Asher Roth because of [insert things that have nothing to do with Asher Roth or this song like the far-reaching concept of privilege or the history of hip-hop].” If you don’t like him because he offends you for a myriad of personal reasons, great. I wasn’t questioning that. My question was, “Is there anything specific in this song that makes it awful?” The answer appears to be: not specifically, it’s everything that’s not talked about or acknowledged in this song, the very spirit I imagine behind it, and the idea that such a spirit is embraced by others. Okay then, and it’s fair to want to use this song as a discussion point in talking about those things (because I’m not dismissing the larger issues that are being pointed to here). But don’t vilify a simple party song for all the wrongs it (to you) inadvertently advocates or portrays. There is nothing concrete in this song that I have a problem. Every aspect pointed at can be flipped if you question the intent with which it was said, and I give Asher Roth the benefit of the doubt. I have no problem liking what I like, and I like this song more and more every time I hear it.

    I’ve been blogging about this on my personal lj for a while where I’ve been venting a lot of frustrations that don’t belong here (if you happen to read it and think I come off like someone with her head up her ass, or want to defend yourself or your comments because I’ve misrepresented them) and also talking about why I care so much about what I think is an unfair set of standards for a simple 4 minute party song, and why I love seeing musical artists co-opt another genre’s sound. I even compiled a playlist of songs with weird combos (Eminem sampling Aerosmith, Jay Z sampling Annie, Nelly featuring Tim McGraw) that I wouldn’t have if everyone felt like they had to stay in their own backyard. If you agree and just think Asher Roth is a shitty example of what could be a great thing, then that really is just a matter of taste, and we can (happily!) agree to disagree.

  77. Really?
    Really? May 3, 2009 at 6:31 pm |

    @ CHAVA Errr, “silly stuff” like “raping people and stuff”? I smell “but feminism is SO SERIOUS and not FUN.”

    I smell someone who did not listen to anything I just said. When did I say rape was funny.As a feminist you are supposed to try to teach people not blow them off with sardonic comments. Note that I kept trying to give my opinion without making fun of people. I’ll have you know I’m spending my summer getting trained to work in a women’s center. Not only that but I pointed out songs that people should truly be afraid of. PS I am a feminist and I know that feminists can be funny. IE Margaret Cho. I was not trying to attack anyone before and I feel like your comment was rude.

    All I’m saying is you may think Roth’s song is annoying and maybe your college experience wasn’t the same as his but the point is there are some really scary songs out there and while you’re devoting a post towards villainizing Asher Roth for some stupid song about drinking you could be devoting an article about some of the really crazy shit out there now. I had to go on a beach trip with a student group and my designated driver kept trying to play the most ridiculously sexist songs in the car that made every girl riding with us visibly tense up at hearing the lyrics but when I love college comes on we love it. Most young girls I know are not offended by the song because there is so much worse to be offended by. I doubt he went out of his way to hurt anyone.

    I also agree with Tai-Tai. What is so wrong about talking about college parties? We’re teenagers with raging hormones. It’s not like any of us has never had sexual thoughts about others before. Hip Hop heads have made fun of the song because of how tame it is compared to other rap songs. More important songs to discuss. I’m not saying that just because a song is not as sexual as others it doesn’t deserve to be called out but this the dumbest song to be up in arms about. Even the writer thinks it is idiotic. It wasn’t even supposed to be a single he wrote it joking with his friends. Not that deep.

  78. Vanessa
    Vanessa May 3, 2009 at 6:40 pm |

    As someone who is finally graduating from college in a few weeks (after having to drop out for several years due to financial reasons) I would like to personally thank Asher Roth and all of his fans for making it that much easier for me to graduate at the top of my class.

    Seriously, it’s pretty easy to make magna cum laude grades when everyone else in your classes do nothing but stay out all night drinking. Now I won’t have to take out so many loans to pay for grad school because I’ll be on scholarship. Cheers!

  79. chava
    chava May 3, 2009 at 9:58 pm |

    –Thanks for letting me know what I am “supposed” to do, Really. And I applaud your use of the word “sardonic,” that’s the nicest thing anyone’s said about me all day.

    –I don’t really give a crap about the kid’s music one way or the other. I do find it ironic that alcoholism and dangerous sexual behavior is somehow A-OK if you’re between 18 and 22, but that’s neither here nor there. The “college experience,” my ass.

    –I went back and read your post again. I’m sorry but I still feel like it was saying “oh, everyone has to sing about silly stuff sometimes, at least he isn’t talking about rape.” That’s an awfully low bar to set. No, you don’t say rape is funny–and I didn’t say you did.

    –Honey, there are PLENTY of big serious posts on Feministe about big serious issues. Jill doesn’t like the guy’s music. She put a hyperbolic title on the post. End of story.

  80. Manju
    Manju May 3, 2009 at 10:26 pm |

    My blessing may be the kiss of death here, but Vanessa’s #81 is one of the best comments ever. For 80 entries I wondering why no one noticed the privileged were sowing the seeds of their own destruction.

    But then I realized why only the most skillful practitioners of the art of war ever achieve ultimate victory–allowing ones enemy to defeat himself. It takes some perception to know thy enemy as he is, not as he appears to be.

    Sometimes weakness masquerades as privilege.

  81. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson May 4, 2009 at 12:47 am |

    Wow.

    So, I just come from a hip hop feminist/black feminist space explaining the issues with Asher Roth, his comments, hip hop and anti feminist language, and where all these things intersect over multiple posts (Asher Roth is the tail end of discussions on art, capitalism, the marketing of hip hop, and its effects on the male psyche as well as dating/conversation norms):

    Asher Roth x Don Imus x Nappy Headed Hos
    Asher Roth and Why Rappers Need Nappy Headed Hos

    And follow a link in the comments to a fascinating post about white supremacy in hip hop and fan culture:

    Asher Roth is the Anti “White Guilt”

    And I’ve been pondering Harry Allen’s take on this for a while now (called Fight the White Rap History Rewrite for those interested.)

    Then I come to this thread, and get to see Jill’s title of this post illustrated beautifully in the comments section. Jill, Holly, Lauren (I) – y’all are far, far better people than most give you credit for, mostly because you’re still willing to engage.

    Me personally? I’m heading back to the darkside, figuring out who to cross post, and probably putting up a post on when (white people) keeping it real goes wrong.

  82. Faith
    Faith May 4, 2009 at 2:27 am |

    #74 Ummm no you need to go back and do some research. The early hip-hop songs were about the desolation of the Black underclass. Take Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five for example. Songs like “The Message” and “White Lines” were anything but party songs. Yes there was Sugar Hill Gang but even that carried weight.

  83. The Opoponax
    The Opoponax May 4, 2009 at 8:26 am |

    that guitar riff is stolen from Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So,” which is about Rivers Cuomo’s fear that his stepfather is following his father’s path to alcoholism.

    Which is a nice illustration of the fact that one can be white and middle class (and even straight and male!) and write music which isn’t a total fucking insult to anyone with two brain cells to rub together.

    Then again, all in all I feel like the Asher Roth crap falls into a great gaping maw of empty pop songs about how fun “partying” is. It especially reminds me of that pap from my own high school days about hot chicks who wear clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch. Which was only slightly less offensive in that at least it wasn’t trying to take on a musical form commonly associated with lyrical substance.

  84. The Opoponax
    The Opoponax May 4, 2009 at 8:47 am |

    I’m currently out of college right now because I can’t afford books, and right now a lot of avenues of paying for my books are closed to me. I’m a woman of color who’s attended a college in a town of mostly poor/working class people of color. Only about 10% of the students at our college are white (and those who are white are as poor as everyone else), many of the students are the children of migrant farm workers, and many also entered college as teenage parents, so our college experience is very different than the suburban middle-class white college experience. We had a lot more on our mind than getting drunk and sleeping till 10 am. That he doesn’t examine that priviledge is one of the things that gets under my skin.

    QFT.

    Part of what offends me so much about the song, and about some of the things people in this thread have written, is that the college experience Roth talks about in the song is not the only college experience that exists. And having a certain kind of college experience is absolutely built on privilege. I went to a university not too different from the one you describe, and worked my way through. And I still had a lot more access to the traditional/cliche College Experience than the vast majority of my classmates, mainly due to unearned privilege.

    Someone upthread said something about how frat culture is awesome because they throw parties and anyone can go and enjoy them, for free. Anyone who actually believes that is a frakking idiot, sorry. I’m white and middle class and generally pass as an acceptable insider in most of mainstream culture. And I can tell you right now that even I would not have been welcome at a frat party (let alone enjoying something like that or finding something in that experience that speaks to me). There’s nothing terribly wrong with being inside that bubble, or enjoying what your privilege gets you. But insisting that there is no bubble, or that everyone has what you have, is fucked.

  85. Julie
    Julie May 4, 2009 at 9:56 am |

    I don’t even understand how this song isn’t sexist and offensive- “I had this one chick completely naked”? How is that not sexist? It takes away her agency and makes her an object that he did something to, not a person in her own right. So yeah, it’s not Eminem screaming about the bitch he locked in his trunk or the other lovely things he throws about, but it’s still offensive. I don’t think it makes you anti-feminist to like it, but protesting that there’s “so much worse” out there doesn’t make this a-ok. I personally could not care less what kind of music you like- hell, I used to listen to Eminem. I even saw him in concert and I still love to turn the music up when he comes on the radio. Am I going to sit here and argue that his music is feminist? Nope.

  86. chava
    chava May 4, 2009 at 10:52 am |

    I think the only truly creepy part of that video –most of it is just annoying (and sexist, but I think we all agree on that one)–is the beginning, where the girl flops off the couch as if dead, and rapper boy doesn’t. even. notice.

    I agree with Opponax-there was no way I would have been welcome at those parties either. Sure, they’re a certain kind of college experience, but the pretending to be universal is annoying.

  87. M.dot
    M.dot May 4, 2009 at 6:15 pm |

    As a Black Woman, Feminist and Hip Hop head,
    I have come to appreciate Asher Roth’s career if only because
    his statements such “Saying that his is hanging out with Nappy Headed Ho’s”
    on Twitter, his music, and his comments in interviews have forced
    me to think and write about White and Black Masculinity in hip hop
    and the ways in which they Rap/Art intersects with Capitalism.

    Oh. The comments in this section also remind me that I need to write
    a piece on “privilage” that I have been thinking of.

    Thank you for visiting my site.

    ~m.dot

  88. William
    William May 5, 2009 at 10:01 am |

    Asher Roth knows his song is stupid he has said it a million times. I don’t think the song is celebrating passivity, sometimes you really do just want to have fun.

    Part of the problem is that he knows his song is stupid. Andrew WK celebrates just having fun, Asher Roth isn’t quite doing that. Nor is he really celebrating passivity. Instead, he’s playing the irony game.

    Roth doesn’t just know his song is ridiculous, he knows that the only reason it exists is because it is ridiculous. Its ridiculous because it’s ironic. Thats the hipster schtick he’s shilling, thats where his comment about “nappy headed ho’s” came from. The problem is that the irony he’s selling is intentional, and we can see the processes that lead him to finding it funny.

    Roth is using a black art form that grew from oppression and a desperate desire for escape to, as a white man, talk about base privileged decadence. Its funny because it doesn’t fit, and the exact same song might be a very different thing if it had been coming from a satire act. With Roth it isn’t satire, though, but an elaborate joke about how dumb black people are. You’re not meant to laugh at him for missing the point because he is presenting himself not as a novelty act but as a serious artist. The irony he’s cultivating comes from the perception that he is behaving in the way a white person would behave if they were as “foolish” as those black artists rapping about crunk juice. The implication, and the source of the incongruity, is that white people are better than that. He then sets this joke in the medium of a primarily black art form to give it just a little more kick.

    Now I know, maybe it sounds like I’m reading too much into it, but this is the exact thing that pisses me off about hipster irony. This aggressive irony serves as a means for people who like to think of themselves as liberal and post-racist/classist/feminist/homophobic/etc to continue reinforcing the old stratifications. Wearing trucker hats, swilling PBR, and listening to Asher Roth with a giggle about the irony doesn’t work if the people doing it don’t feel like they’re culturally slumming. You can’t have that feeling if you don’t think you’re better than the group you’re emulating.

  89. Asher Roth and the Politics of Race in Hip Hop at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

    [...] after doing a bit of reading and seeing how Roth is being championed as someone who is just expressing himself, I understand my reaction a little [...]

  90. j.ceasless
    j.ceasless May 5, 2009 at 12:53 pm |

    The first time I saw Asher Roth was at some awards party or something. I think he shared a stage with the Cool Kids. I was so mad. There is so much talent out there in the world, so many amazing rappers who are not given a single shot. And Roth, with zero rep and no notoriety, just marches out there and “raps” some bullsh*t lyrics. On television. I couldn’t believe it. The guy can’t even freestyle. His lyrical ability is nonexistent. And on top of that he’s going “and i got this one chick completely naked” in his hook. I was steamed. Being a white male who raps I would never approach from a POV that tries to sidestep or gloss over my privilege. That privilege and the recognition of that privilege have shaped me too much to not be a core part of my experience. Since Roth does not address this, he either has never confronted his own privilege or has but decided he doesn’t care. Either way, Fail.

    @Walt

    Are you seriously saying that white rappers who get political are perpetuating racism? Please explain.

  91. Xenu01
    Xenu01 May 5, 2009 at 3:53 pm |

    Two things:
    1) When Jay Smooth was talking about “hipster rap”, he wasn’t talking about white people. In fact, he specifically references Kid Cuddy, Kid Sister and Kidz in the Hall. He’s talking in that video, in fact, about something more like what Latoya says in her take on this whole Asher Roth thing, where she wearily jokes about being an old head who doesn’t understand these kids and their new music.

    2) It’s all well and good for us to talk about people crossing over within their musical genres, only- well-
    why is it always white people crossing over into black music, appropriating it, putting new labels on it and getting famous with it? And then later generations are either ignorant of just how much white artists borrowed from black artists, or decide that white people make black music more marketable because white people are the mainstream. Oh yes, this whole “making things more palatable for everyone who is normal” thing is a problem at the base of it because it assumes that your baseline normal person is a white person.

    However. What I wanted to point to is that whether in homage or just love of or intentional mockery, this white-people-stealing-black-music, being-embraced-by-white-america thing is far from new (See: Elvis Presley, see: the whole whitewashed existence of rock n’ roll) and it would be awesome for it to go the other way, with a POC crossing over into white territory, and for us to be just as excited for this to happen as we are for some white dude to piece together black music and put some self-satisfied rhymes over-top.

  92. How Do I Draw On A Self-assured Attitude To Get My Ex Girlfriend Back > Relationships > Front Page Articles - Article Directory

    [...] Feministe » Asher Roth is everything that is wrong with the world [...]

  93. Date Rape Anthem: Asher Roth’s “I Love College” - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

    [...] it’s enough for commenters on feminist blog Feministe to defend Roth against charges of racism  and sexism: “He does the bare minimum of saying, ‘…don’t have sex if she’s too far [...]

  94. Joey
    Joey May 22, 2009 at 10:13 pm |

    Okay okay okay, fine, you don’t like the song or the content of it. But what I don’t understand is all the people that are saying that hip hop can’t be about white suburban upbringing or fraternal antics. A lot of people come from that world and I think it’s a good thing that Asher Roth (and for all I know he isn’t the first) brings that element into hip-hop instead of using his flow to talk about guns and selling crack. I’m not defending the song because I like it, I’m defending it because I don’t see any good reason that a white person can’t rap about his actual existence and experiences in life – I’m black and I realize this.

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.