Everyone can learn something from Asher Roth. "RetroHash" shows just how far he has come.
It's fair to presume that some hip-hop fans have slept on Asher Roth over the years. Some still associate him only with his 2009 platinum-selling hit "I Love College". If you find yourself in this category, it's time to recognize one of the best lyrical, smooth-flowing rappers in the game. His extensive fan base, constant big-name collaborations, and overall consistency with which he has made dope music are all reflections of Asher Roth's skill and growth as an artist.
Now more than five years removed - damn, how time flies - from the track that introduced us all to the Morrisville, PA-native, Ash Roth delivers his second studio album (first since 2009), the long-awaited RetroHash. The 10-track project is produced exclusively by Chicago-duo Blended Babies. The distinct style of production found on Blended Babies' tracks is not only impressive for its' melodious, instrumental sound, but also makes for a perfect fit for an Asher Roth verse. In terms of features, Roth enlists the help of Chuck Inglish, Curren$y, and Vic Mensa, as well as singer/songwriters ZZ Ward, Major Myjah, and Coyle Girelli.
RetroHash is different from previous Asher Roth projects. Several of his earlier Roth releases, like his debut album and even his most recent mixtape Greenhouse Effect Vol. 2, demonstrate his lyrical ability and impressive flow - always over sick production. While "RetroHash" features all of those, it has a different feel to it, one that is best understood by simply listening to the album straight through. It is not just another hip-hop project, but rather ten songs of musical mastery. Much credit goes to Blended Babies, who crafted every beat as an instrumental production rather than a typical hip-hop beat by using chords, rhythms, and ill drum patterns. To those that criticize hip-hop for a lack of musicality, RetroHash will serve as more than a pleasant surprise. All ten songs showcase this, but among the most evident is track five, "Something for Nothing".
While the many sounds of RetroHash are soothing to the ear, Asher Roth shows his growth as an artist from beginning to end. The young suburban-Philly dude who gained fame by rapping about beer pong and blunt cruisin' will turn 29-years-old in August. And while Roth still smokes weed - peep the opening verse of "Last of the Flohicans" and note that the final track is titled "Keep Smoking" - he has grown, matured, and learned about life. "RetroHash" serves as an outlet for Asher to drop some valuable wisdom, positivity, and plenty of good vibes. The second verse on "Be Right" encapsulates the feel of the project, with Asher delivering some twisty, multisyllabic rhymes.
"No more oil slips, you owe me that, you owe me this. You're on your own, the only hope is owning up to know your gift. The Zodiac can only help to loan you hints, take control of yours' alone for ownerships the only risk".
Asher Roth is not someone to discount. He's addressed the fact in raps, as well as interviews: he has been slept on, hated, and even forgotten. He knows a lot about the ups-and-downs of life and grinding on the path to success. Watch his music video for "Fast Life" below. It's worth your time.
Overall, RetroHash is a progressive hip-hop album in the sense that it is unique compared to typical projects of the genre. As usual, Asher Roth spits some impressive flows, but he does so using positivity, humor, and wisdom. Blended Babies' role in the project cannot be understated, as all ten tracks are wonderful pieces of music. Although a bit different from the Don Cannon-hosted "Greenhouse Effect" series, RetroHash lives up to the hype, and is a fitting project for showcasing how far Asher Roth as both an artist and person.
The kid who once loved college now loves life, and he wants us all to do the same.
Stream RetroHash below: