Asher Roth, the not-long-ago poster child of suburban rap, had either a wise or misguided marketing plan when he first hit it big. In 2009, his single "I Love College" was inescapable and remains his best-known song to date. The ode to wanton first-world privilege and lazy binge drinking was so deadpan and so clichéd, it surely was meant to be taken with a certain layer of irony -- something that seemed to completely escape many of the song's fans. It also seemed to escape most mainstream media that wrote about Roth, with the Pennsylvania native painted as an idol for the fans who took his song at face value.
Though it worked commercially, it gave Roth a definitively fratty image, and on its surface, "I Love College," with its lazy lyrics and Weezer sampling, was profoundly stupid. In many ways, that was too bad, because Roth had built up something of a more serious reputation on the underground hip-hop circuit before that via mixtapes and one-off releases that showed a nimble delivery and clever wordplay.
Luckily, in the ensuing years since "I Love College," though Roth hasn't managed to reach that kind of radio saturation again, he seems to have gone back to his roots. His latest material is still tongue-in-cheek and doesn't pretend to be street-ready or chin-scratching, but it's still more lyrically and musically sophisticated than that of his previous megahit.
Take, for example, this recent collaboration with Chuck Inglish, the beatmaker behind Cool Kids, who specializes in spare, slightly retro, neck-snapping beats based on drum machines and unapologetically electronic sounds. Titled "In the Kitchen," Roth reminds us that, yes, the track really was made in a culinary corner, in the meantime running through rhyme patterns that flip, stretch, and repeat vowels.
Check out the video below, and click the link to get a free download of the track before Roth's upcoming headlining show in South Florida, on Friday, March 23, at Revolution.
Asher Roth, 7 p.m. Friday, March 23, at Revolution, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $26.90 with fees. Click here.