Maxwell Hauser got a sneak listen today to the upcoming album that’s got the hip hop world leaning…Asher Roth’s Asleep In the Bread Aisle. That’s awfully close to being Lost In a Supermarket, dontcha think? I think dude’s trying to cop our look…

If you’re a fan of the current breed of up-and-coming emcees who recently graced the cover of XXL’s Top 10 Freshmen (or if you read this site), you already know the name Asher Roth — the 23-year old emcee straight outta Morrisville, PA. If not, you’ll know soon enough when his debut album Asleep in the Bread Aisle drops in April — you won’t be able to read a blog from here till Chataboutcats without seeing his name somewhere. LIAS was up on dude early, following him after his DJ Drama-sponsored The Greenhouse Effect mixtape came out last June. Since then, the kid with the slightly nasal twang, skinny frame and gingerish hair has gone on to become hyped emcee du jour.

When Greenhouse came out, the hip-hop world polarized around an emcee who embraced his suburban roots, wrote about keg stands and $1 pizza, and eschewed any conventional “profile and pose” mimicry. While some thought his intricate wordplay and cleverness made him the second coming, just as many yelled “gimmick” and dismissed Roth wholeheartedly. With Aisle, Roth assures listeners of his undeniable talent and, more surprisingly, strong sense of songwriting…

Hit the Jump to continue reading Maxwell’s Asleep in the Bread Aisle review…

Where Greenhouse showcased Roth’s rhyming ability, Aisle adds intricate musical layers devoid of most current hip-hop releases. Producer Oren Yoel, behind the boards for most of the album, throws in Hammond B3s, funk guitars, and psychedelic synths to give the album a Danger Mouse-esque quality, working with Roth to give the tracks songwriting structure more often seen on rock tracks. Codas and middle eighths crop up everywhere and right when you’re comfortable with the beat, more instrumentation will pop up (Hell, most of it was recorded live).

But the hero is Roth, a young emcee who on Aisle alters his voice from excitable college freshman (“I Love College”) to seen-it-all wizened monotone (“Bad Day”), depending on the mood of the song. While certain tracks retain the goofy, sophomoric humor that has fueled his detractors (“College” has “Keg stand” chanted repeatedly mid song), there’s a surprising diversity to the album, ranging from a tribute to his dad (“His Dream”) to the countless Eminem comparisons he’s received (“As I Em”). Don’t get it twisted: There are still references to Mystery Machines, Mr. Miyagi, and playing Madden, but Roth seemed to have matured years since his first release.

Whether Roth can break out and do platinum numbers remains to be seen. Right now, there’s more buzz than product and that can be the gift and the curse. But if Roth fails, it won’t be for lack of a good album. Aisle stands as an impressive and mature leap for the young emcee.

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  1. […] last week’s early record listening of Asher Roth’s album Asleep in the Bread Aisle, Maxwell Hauser linked up with Asher to ask […]

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