Asher Roth: Warrior, Philosopher And Finally Out Of College
We caught up with the man behind frat house anthem I Love College to hear all about his new album, RetroHash…
By Sabina Emrit
It’s been five years since I Love College was released and played religiously in every fraternity and student union you could think of. It’s a summer anthem that has us swaying and looking for an ice-cold beer (even if we don’t drink beer). And even though Asher Roth’s hair has grown in to longer wavier locks, and his fashion sense is much less hoodies and much more knit sweaters and bandanas, we still want to be his new BFF now more than ever. We caught up with Asher to chat about his latest album, RetroHash, as he heads back out on tour Stateside.
MTV UK: In the past five years you’ve moved from Philadelphia to LA. What’s happened since?
Asher Roth: Man, how do I sum up the past five years? Been spending a lot of time out west. Taking it one day at a time. Learning the ropes. Staying productive. Making music. Enjoying life. I like the LA pace. I like how I can go up to the mountains, left to the water, right to the desert and down to Mexico. I like how I don't have to wear shoes. Philadelphia still has my heart though.
MTV UK: If an alien landed in the middle of LA, where would you take them for a real experience of the city?
Asher: Ha! S**t, I'd probably take ’em to Hollywood Boulevard. Place is weird, but has a lot of history. Get a gin martini at Musso & Frank's with the ghost of Charlie Chaplin. Hit the Venice boardwalk because it's ridiculous and fascinating and you can buy a magic wand. Then cruise around Downtown and hit the Bradbury Building where they filmed Blade Runner amongst other things.
MTV UK: Do you come up with your own visuals and video ideas? They always seem to have a narrative that feels rooted in reality, rather than the gloss and glamour that’s usually in music videos…
Asher: Yes, for the most part I'll have an idea and a vision, and find a collaborator who can help bring that vision to life. It's cool to see an idea in your head become real. I enjoy collaboration because you get to work with someone who can elaborate on the idea and typically make it better. That happens often in music and in the visual world. I enjoy challenging myself and others to try things that may have never been done before. That keeps it fun.
MTV UK: And album artwork? How do you come up with the concepts?
Asher: It's really just feel. Listen and close your eyes kinda thing. I'm a very visual learner as well. Sounds have different colors, feelings, shapes and size. For instance, when I was sent a list of anagrams and saw 'Retro Hash' I knew that had to be the name of the album because the music FELT like RetroHash. I think it's important to be open and receptive and allow the visual side of things to come to you.
MTV UK: Your list of collaborations makes for a great read, from Cee-Lo Green to Justin Bieber. Who would be your dream collaboration?
Asher: Oh man, it changes day to day. How crazy is it that Tupac was 25 when he died!? Maybe Led Zeppelin?
MTV UK: Your sound has really evolved. What was the musical journey that brought you to RetroHash?
Asher: Just life really. Experiences, conversations, relationships, successes and failures have all played a part in where I am today. Who knows where I'll end up. It's exciting. I'd rather not know.
MTV UK: Your lyrics are very motivational. Do you feel like there’s more to life than chasing the Pot of Gold?
Asher: The world can move really fast and there are a million and one distractions. I just want to stay healthy, travel, eat amazing food, hang with beautiful women, swim naked and if I can make a living off doing something I love then I'd chalk that up as a life well lived.
MTV UK: What are you most looking forward to about being back out on tour?
Asher: Creating some stories. Tour always calls for some great stories. I look forward to getting into some trouble and having some fun and being around some incredible people. It's always nice to see the country too.
MTV UK: You’re stuck in a hotel room for an entire weekend with one book, one album and only one show to watch on Netflix. What would you read? What would you listen to? And what would you watch?
Asher: Daaaaamn. I'd read The Bible that's in the bedside table ’cause I've never read it, listen to Joy Division's Closer cause I haven't heard it and watch Breaking Bad because I've never seen it.
MTV UK: Before we go, tell us one thing about Asher Roth that no one would know?
Asher: I was a warrior for many lifetimes before this, which is why I'm an advocate for peace in this one.
Warning: If you’re listening RetroHash in public, you will find yourself not being able to resist grinding and throwing your hands up in the air to the beat. Listen to the lyrics a little deeper and you might even find yourself Roth-style enlightened…
In the backseat screaming out loud
In the backseat screaming out
Ash is young, attractive, handsome bachelor, awesome rapper
Got a knack for vernacular when I perform spectacular
I'll have any girl that I want, I'm a take the girl in the front
Boobs bounce when I tell the crowd jump, honey, come backstage I just want to have fun
But I'm too young to be locked down, not now
Need a new car, drive around with the top down
New broad with her bra and her top down
Chillin' in the backseat screaming out loud
She wants to be my lady but I don't see her
She wants to be my lady but I'm a free bird
I gotta be by myself, gotta be by myself this time
I gotta fly by myself, go get high by myself this time
The cycle is Shawn Michaels (heartbreak)
And yeah I like you but not enough to wife you
Say, I'm nice, true and you think I'm the right dude
But there's another girl just like you (like who?)
I'm on the road, another night, another show
New event in a new time zone
And the live show is so mind blowing
And it's my show so you know that I'm blown (you know?)
No text gonna give me head, Long distance just ain't my thing
Yeah I'm single, don't need no ring,
I'm a free man now, I don't need no strings, sing
If you're cool with nights at the pool
Jacuzzis and groupies, groupies and booze
And no rules, I'm only 22
I need to watch football and hang with the crew
But if you don't get mad when I get fat
Cause all I do is eat, drink, smoke weed and rap
And play Madden then dag
You're pretty rad and I take it all back, c'mon
Just keep clapping your hands, Feels good, feels nice and warm in here right now
I'm feeling free, if you feel free, clap your hands, ah, ah, ah, c'mon