Exclusive Interview with Asher Roth

. Jul 4, 2008

*******[Disclaimer: this interview will be up for a week, so please be aware that when we update the blog for this week, the posts will appear under this interview!!]*********

Not too long ago, we posted a few things on Asher Roth, an upcoming rapper ("rap's Bill Murray") whose uncanny wit (by the way, I couldn't stop laughing while listening to his mixtape) juxtaposes quite nicely with his methodological approach to serious issues of today. If you think I'm hyping him up too much, how about your favorite rapper's favorite rapper's opinion? Hov, after hearing him spit 150 bars in his very office, commended Asher and said he was "very nice"; not to mention Andre 3000 did not fail to mention, "Let me know if there is a record you guys need me on." Even Asher's labelmate Akon wondered why he wasn't given the opportunity to hear about Asher before the buzz started surrounding him. The list of applause goes on and on for this kid, and we sincerely believe this artist has the ability to shock the hip hop world and beyond. So move over John Brown, the true King of the 'Burbs will replace you and unshackle the weights of stereotypes and make you second-guess what a "rapper truly looks like." More importantly, though, as Asher stated in a recent interview that I read, this dude is here "to bring back some of that integrity to hip hop."

First of all, Asher, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for your fans. I’m sure I speak on behalf of all the viewers/readers out there when I say that we truly respect the artists who are so in to their fans and their music that they’re willing to interact on a deeper level, such as through interviews like this one.

IV: For all the viewers out there in blogland, why don’t you introduce yourself? Who is Asher Roth? Who is this “rap’s Bill Murray” that everyone’s been raving about?

AR: Haha I don't even know who Asher Roth is sometimes. But from what I've gathered along this journey I believe I'm a 22 year old Caucasian male, raised in Morrisville, PA, residing in Atlanta, GA who specializes in enjoying life.

IV: What enticed you to start rapping, and more especially how did you hone your craft so well?

AR: It was all just an after school hobby - something I liked to do in between school and baseball. I was at a very impressionable age when I picked up on hip-hop - i was just really attracted to its ruggedness - it was edgy and different from the stuff that was being played in my household. By the time junior and senior year came around and I was still 100 pounds - the idea of pro sports started to fade and rapping in the basement became more my thing. At 16, my friend Brian Sellers (Footie) and I ended up recording a CD together in his basement off beats on mp3.com. We were called Suburban Threat and the CD was called Ezia Sed Den Dun. Replacing our books with burnt CDs we sold 250 copies in 2 days. I ended up blowing that money on Reebok classics and weed.

People were fairly receptive to that first CD so I stuck with it in college. Rapped in my dorm room, recorded in my dorm room, sold some copies around the dorms. Rapped at parties, rapped in talent shows, developed rap turrets. Like any craft it's just a matter of doing it. I did it, I do it, I love what i do.

IV: Who are your biggest influences in the industry, and who – whether in the industry or not – encouraged and/or influenced you the most?

AR: Biggest influences in the industry would be The Roots, Bob Dylan, Biggie's I-said-it-I-meant-itness, Rage Against the Machine - all music at the end of the day is an influence in some way, shape or form - as for the people who encouraged me the most would definitely be my family, friends and my fans. I LOVE YALL!!

IV: So the Eminem comparison? That’s all I hear about whenever I read about you, and I must say it turned me off at first because, hey, this is Eminem we’re talking about?! How do you take the comparison? Is it good or bad thing?

AR: Eminem's arguably the best that ever did it. I could put up a valid argument on why he is. I can't be mad at a comparison like that. Any white kid who grew in my generation and listened to hip-hop music is lying if they said they weren't inspired and influenced by Eminem. But I'm almost 15 years younger, I'm a voice of a different generation. People are always going to compare something new to something they've previously experienced - unfortunately there's not many other artists to compare me to.

IV: I’m not going to lie, there are definite similarities between you two: the inexplicable sarcasm that is rampant throughout your verses, the incredible display of almost-tongue-twisting wordplays, and an inimitable depth of understanding? What else defines who you are – as a person and a rapper?

AR: Haha well nah i think that's just it - I try not to be too serious when I don't have to be, enjoy life and have a good time while I'm here but at the same time not be completely ignorant - be cognizant and aware and ask questions.

IV: It’s no secret that hip hop has usually been dominated by certain races, and it is evident that if you’re not part of those races, it’ll be difficult for you to come up. Has that been your experience? Have people questioned you simply because you were white and from the suburbs? It’s almost as if you play off of that in some of your rhymes. Is that a fair assessment?

AR: I'm happy with who I am. I'm happy with where I grew up and who I've become. Besides it's not like I can control where I grew up and if i could - i wouldn't change it. A couple people have given me a hard time about my middle-class suburban upbringing and my rapping but it's just usually extremists who are saying anything.

IV: So describe a day in the life of Asher. Describe your last prank call.

AR: Wake up. Stretch. Eat. Burn. Music. Eat. Music. Burn. Naughty time. Burn. Sleep. My last prank phone call consisted of 4 a.m., a series of obscene questions and a flamboyant voice welcoming you with a "Hi this is Bucks County Survey Center."

IV: Hahaha, ok, if you could be any historical figure – of late or even from the past, you pick – who would you be and why?

AR: Man - uhhh - so many options - Abraham Lincoln? Einstein? Heff? Dude who invented the whoopie cushion?

IV: A lot of artists are products of higher education. You’ve got your Kidz in the Hall, Chester French, among others. What was college like for you? If you weren’t into music, what do you see yourself doing as a career?

AR: College was the best time of my life. I misbehaved, made some lifelong friends and learned a few things. If i weren't into music i'd probably be doing what I was in school for - elementary education.

IV: Tell us a bit more about the Greenhouse Effect mixtape. How’d you hook up with Cannon? Can we expect more mixtapes from you, and are you looking solely to dropping your album at this point? Give us the scoop on your upcoming album. Any special guests? Also, who would you want to work with in the game?

AR: Cannon's and I became friends through Scooter. I wouldn't be surprised if I got a couple more mixtapes out to you guys. The album is gonna be dope. More players than names but consists of good, honest music. Gonna have a couple friends on it but that's a surprise. Who would i want to work with?? I'd like to see what Kanye and I could come up with and think it'd be cool to have some fun with Em on a record - theres a lot of cats id love to work with tho.

IV: Besides fantasizing about Jessica Rabbit (check out the latest post about Pixel's Jessica Rabbit!) and Ariel, who in the celebrity world are you looking at?

AR: Ohhh - on the spot - Martha Stewart for sure - she does it all and has street cred.

IV: *Ahem* what are the groupies like?

AR: Haha come on you already know the answer to that question. But when theyre not in overwhelming numbers, groupies are a good time.

IV: What are your long-term goals in music? What do you want to be known for?

AR: My long-term goals are to make some beautiful, honest music and leave the world a better place than when i came in.

Nowadays, it seems as if anybody can be a rapper, and so we here at iLLVibes pride ourselves on sifting through all the rough to find those diamonds, and we make sure to listen to an individual’s music before automatically posting about an artist. We truly agree that, like most people think, you’ve got incredible talent, and we look forward to your future prospects and endeavors. Thank you once again!

For more information about Asher, check out his myspace page and Daily Kush if you haven't already downloaded that mixtape! Oh yeah, you got to give Asher extra props for posting the N64 Mario Kart picture on his myspage picture album (We still play that game to this day!).

In addition, please make sure to visit urb.com and vote for Asher as part of the Next 1000.