Asher Roth RetroHash Album Review
Get ready for a wild and emotional ride through Asher Roth's new album RetroHash! His sophomore album takes you though some deep conceptual subjects and makes it easy to get lost in the smooth beats of producer Blended Babies. First, let's go back to school and take a history lesson.... Asher Roth, became active in the rap game in 2008. He began creating a buzz throughout colleges nationwide by recording himself rapping over other artist beats. This is what became his first release the Greenhouse Effect Vol 1. It was during this time that he hooked up with talent agent Scooter Braun (manager of Justin Bieber, PSY, Carly Rae Jepson, The Wanted, Ariana Grande) by simply sending him a message on MySpace. One Week after speaking to Braun, he flew down to Atlanta to begin recording. Since then Roth has grown his hair out, made one full length and 2mixtapes which I encourage you to check out to hear the HUGE contrast from his latest and greatest RetroHash. Let's dive right into it. This album sounds drastically different from his earlier work. You might be thinking "Oh no! Not another one of these!" but hold your horses cowboy. Give it a chance and you won't be disappointed. From beginning to end RetroHash radiates a "keep it real" and free vibe throughout. The opening track "Parties at the Disco" demonstrates Asher's new skill: singing. I was blown away with the dudes voice! He really hasn't sang on his tracks much in the past and it was a very pleasant surprise. Im sure it helped that he has the female vocal powerhouse ZZ Ward backing him up, but impressive nonetheless. He sings a lot on this album with gets a big thumbs up from me. Track 2 "Dude" is the closest to anything you might have heard from a younger Asher Roth. Teaming up with Curren$y, they lay down the heaviest hip-hop track on the album. Asher reminds us that although he can now sing, he can still spit the crazy, off topic rhymes that his first album was riddled with. His wacky flow is probably the reason I was attracted to his music in the first place. Its so unconventional, and proves that you can rap about things like daily routines or what you had for lunch and still make it sound sick."Bolognese, homemade, only played croquet In a cloak, and like old episodes of Soul Train Run with the O'Jays, Whole Foods for the groceries OJ, Moets, cherries and Yoplait"
Track 3 was the first single released. "Tangerine Girl" is a song composed of 90% singing and in my mind is Asher showing off his new found singing voice. I think its about a girl he's trying to get wth, but also seems open to interpretation. It resembles a psychedelic song from the 60's with long drawn out, falsetto singing layered with heavy vocal effects. Definitely the most spacey song on RetroHash but was a ballsy move to release it as the single. I can respect that. Lets skip to the 6th track "Fast Life". My favorite track on RetroHash and will be my designated Summer jam. If I had to choose, this track best represents the overall theme of his album. He talks about growing up, and trying to develop a purpose in life. I love the introspective view that this song hosts. Vic Mensa is the voice you hear in the second verse. Vic is a 20 year old and very talented from Chicago. You may recognize him from his work with Chance the Rapper. I'm glad he was featured on this track because he is not very well known yet and this is great exposure for him. In my opinion, the album goes a bit down hill from here. I don't want to say they are bad songs but they just dont live up to the expectations of the first 6. RetroHash is a front heavy album and the end comes to a slow rolling stop at the final track "Keep Smokin". The last song is the ultimate "blaze up" song featuring the frequent collaborator Chuck Inglish from The Cool Kids."Change of ways and make you raise a gunA spotless mind can't erase the sun" Lyrics from track 5 "Something for Nothing"
I feel like hip-hop has been changing the last few years. It is moving away from about rhyming how much money/cars/women you have and moving down a more artistic avenue. Look at artists like Chance the Rapper, Childish Gambino, Kid Cudi, Odd Future, Maclemore, and Kendrick Lamar. Along with Asher I believe these guys are on the forefront of this movement. If you listen to their music its now starting to incorporate more real instruments into the production giving it a more real and organic sound. The guitar, trumpet, string, piano, and live drum work you hear on this album really shines through and gives it that true, laid-back feel. All in all, I would recommend RetroHash to music fans of all capacities. You can hear the maturity from his last release and can see where he is headed in the future. I look forward to watching him grow as as artist and continue to expand the boundaries of modern hip-hop.