God damn I hate Asher Roth. And I suspect his video for “I Love College” will make you hate him too (official video here; the one below is the only embeddable one I could find):
Y’all act like you’ve never seen a white person before. And yet, here we are, a decade removed from The Slim Shady LP and before even selling one record, MC Asher Roth has generated opinions so ingrained one way or the other that for all intents and purposes, his debut album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, might as well be a blank disc. There are those who celebrate the chance that any new artist becomes able to move units, even if he’s being marketed to white, affluent hip-hop buyers seeking to relate to a rapper in a completely non-allegorical sense. And then there are those who’ve heard “I Love College” and find the use of hip-hop as a vehicle to express leisure class privilege as a bit… troubling, to say the least. Beyond that, “I Love College” is seen as a mutant strain of hipster-rap that completely evolved into frat-rap in the literal sense. And let’s face it, you probably haven’t heard “frat” used as a word to positively describe a lot of music since Otis Day & the Knights.
Topicality isn’t a sticking point, especially when hip-hop is almost always richer for having pioneers who are willing to shatter preconceptions of what it’s “okay” to rap about– see Eminem and Kanye, the 21st century’s biggest stars and two rappers who set the stage for Roth’s career in their own way. And surely, someone can be the William Styron of this rap shit, writing vividly about college parties, so ripe for exploration from a keen eye with its pungent sensory overload– the smell of a beer-sticky basement, the sobering chill of a bleary walk home, the fact that any pizza joint that sells a slice for a buck is probably a drug front. Instead, and maybe this is the point, by trying to embody a universal experience, Roth reps for no one in particular and just becomes that asshole yelling “CHUG, FRESHMAN!” turning in the most laughably out-of-touch account of campus culture since I Am Charlotte Simmons. At least Tom Wolfe had the excuse of being 50 years older than Roth.
Here’s hoping he goes away and goes away fast.
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