The Deal: Hip-hop's newest great white hype, Asher Roth, deflects Eminem comparisons, cracks open a beer, lights the bong and enjoys the good life over simple hip-hop beats on his major label debut.
The Good: Roth's lax and lighthearted flow sounds like he just sparked up and went in the booth, which adds to the charm of the 23-year-old college grad. Outside of the lead single, "I Love College" and second single "Lark on My Go-Kart," a few tracks stand out. "As I Em" features Chester French and addresses Roth's career in Eminem's shadow. "Be By Myself" features Cee-Lo sounding more Gnarls Barkley than Goodie Mob, but still dope, and "She Don't Wanna Man" with Keri Hilson was surprisingly good. Roth's lyrics are purely the product of good times, and with lyrics and songs touching on issues like choosing Lisa Turtle over Kelly Kapowski from Saved By The Bell, he clearly sets himself outside of the box many critics try to force him in.
The Bad: The bulk of the album was produced by the relatively unknown Oren Yoen and could have used some variety in its sound. Roth suffers from a lack of subject matter after a while but really, how much does a suburban college student from Pennsylvania have going on other than class, parties and the pursuit of scattered ass? While humorous, "Blunt Cruisin" left a little to be desired and "Bad Day" featuring Jazze Pha was a storytelling reach.
The Verdict: Roth is not Eminem, but he doesn't try to be. He's hip-hop's Ferris Bueller and his feel-good rap is a welcome change of pace to the beef and dance-driven sound right now. Don't let his voice and appearance suck you into an Eminem state of mind. Asleep in the Bread Aisle is not a Rookie of the Year debut but it will definitely move you to hear more.