Asher Roth: Not the First of His Kind

 

One of XXL Magazine’s mostly refreshing 10 emcees to usher rap’s future, and apparent wonder-crush of Steve Rifkin’s collegiate daughter, Asher Roth has garnered quite the buzz for being the white white rapper. Hipsters dig him because they think he’s ironic (even though hearing “The Lounge” on 98.9 The Beat or in the Palmer Club doesn’t really sound misplaced), but hardcore varieties of fans show a more genuine respect for his own, new brand of honkey swagger… and maybe even his mic skills (imagine that). Either way, people are embracing him as the first full-blown preppy emcee. While Mic Skillz dropped the “Andover Hospitality” Ludacris spoof almost 8 years ago, that was only one track. And although John Brown is the self-proclaimed King of the Suburbs, he still dresses like NY Undercover reruns urge him toward the extra-large South Pole/Enyce racks at JC Penny, even though he obviously fits size smedium. Asher, absent of any forced, synthetic urban tokens, can use this to his advantage and could be about to win on a major scale.

While the codes of Philly Fuckery require me to hate on him (since I am, in fact another Caucasian hip-hopper that views himself tougher), the fact that I’m not a rapper myself makes his style easier for me to digest than for a lot of my acquaintances, and I might be fan just yet. I haven’t heard enough to decide one way or the other though… The point of this post is not to praise or denounce the artist, but to acknowledge the power of packaging, and give credit to a true innovator when it’s due. Say what you will about young Roth, but I don’t think he initially intended to pursue the frat boy gimmick before a few recent press shoots and the “I Love College” track. There is, however, a different individual that was all over this angle from the jump, starting five-plus years ago.

Enter Troy Walsh, daring proprietor of Burb Life Records, who hails from an even more fuck-random Pennsylvania town than Roth. While his MySpace page and “Happy Hour” video speak for themselves, note that it was all the way back in 2004 that he enlisted ‘now’ street DJ, Lt. Dan to release his promo mixtape, decorated with nothing besides images of golf greens and an old colonial-style logo. Yes, a new Asher track is banging for its creative sampling of a Weezer melody, but Troy rocks with an entire band every show… and even straps on the old axe himself, bitch. Then there are Mr. Unlikely’s credentials (some notables listed below), which despite some lost promise, overshadow the 22-year Roth’s rather vague rap sheet of pre-SRC dues paid and even out Walsh’s gaudier reliance on presentation.

Granted, there are some fairly distinct image discrepancies. Asher is more the upper class, frat-boy white dude, whereas Troy is more of a grungy, redneck scenester white dude. But the rap game isn’t ready for that degree of genre-splicing just yet, so there’s only room for one of them in the current industry niche of extra-white rapper. Right now, I’d be pretty disgruntled if I were Walsh, but the tides could easily turn with one failure to deliver a trend and an eager big label looking to capitalize on a new gimmick.

For now, they should settle this with a drinking contest. Congrats for affirming binge drinking as the new white stereotype.

Roth Boys

Happy Hour

           

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2 Responses to “Asher Roth: Not the First of His Kind”

  1. DistantStarr Says:

    Hilarious and soooo true. Dope post bro

  2. ZillaRocca Says:

    Oh my god, I remember getting Troy Walsh promo mixtapes everytime I ordered a Lt. Dan mixtape from HipHopSite.com. He was OK to me, but rhyming over Nirvana was kinda weak even 5 years ago.

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