NEW YORK — Last night, I hit the release party for Asher Roth's Asleep in the Bread Aisle LP, the debut full-length from the young, much-hyped rapper.
Considering he's already had a mixtape out, The Greenhouse Effect, as well as a plethora of tracks all over the Internet, I almost did a double-take when I saw an "Asher Roth Release Party" invite in my mailbox — but hey, these days people seem to come to "release parties" for the party rather than the release.
And a party it was! It was held in a three-floor penthouse at the Rivington Hotel on the Lower East Side, packed with bloggers, label reps and other industry peeps — not to mention kegs and college-style party cups that each displayed the Asher Roth crown logo. Asher and his "Roth Boys," Brian Langley and Thomas Boyd, arrived at around 11 p.m. or so, and situated themselves at the back of the second floor, where a small bathroom looked out onto downtown Manhattan. Read More...
By Matt Harper
Asher Roth is a true man of the people. A few weeks ago, the young MC hinted that he was going to start a revolution down at South by Southwest — and Asher did not disappoint.
After his packed performance at Club de Ville, Asher took to the crowded Austin streets with our MTV News crew. Despite going to the doctor earlier that day because of an irritated throat, he insisted on hanging out with the throngs of music lovers wandering the streets.
Asher lit up when he got the MTV News mic (or, as he affectionately referred to it, his "magic wand") and immediately started talking to all the fans on the street. So what did Asher want from the SXSW'ers? He asked them to give their Twitter-size assessment of their experiences thus far. Although the request confused many of the inebriates on Austin's famed (and debaucherous) Sixth Street, Asher is a charming and convincing dude and was able to coax answers — albeit many incoherent ones — out of everyone.
By this point, it was well after 2 a.m., and we were all getting a bit famished. We dashed over to the closest pizza place (a ridiculous $4 a slice ... a far cry from Asher's college days). Seeing the daunting SXSW lines, Asher flashed a smile and challenged two girls near the front to a game of rock-paper-scissors for their place in line. It took about 30 seconds for him to lose 2-nil ... but the girls were nice enough to let Asher order with them, and of course he returned the favor by shelling out for the pizza.
So with pizza in hand and a bunch of new SXSW friends in tow, our night ended. And Asher Roth had once and for all secured the title of SXSW Man of the People.
By MTV News interns
Think being an MTV News intern is the coolest job around? Well — you can hate us for saying this — but we think you're right. We constantly get asked what it's like to hang out at the mecca of music and pop culture. We've decided to show you what it's really like to be an intern in the MTV Newsroom. It may be cool, but it's probably not what you expect.
So, we came up with the idea (thanks to some encouragement from Sway!) to deliver a weekly video blog documenting our time here at 1515 Broadway in Times Square.
Besides working alongside Sway, Kim Stolz and Tim Kash, we are exposed to just about anything and everything. This week alone, we had the chance to catch up with Asher Roth, Keri Hilson and Ashley Tisdale! But it's not all glitz and glam. In the coming weeks, you'll see everything from mundane tasks to how we help make some newsroom magic.
By Alex Shapiro
College: The word conjures images of beer flowing, parties and a general feeling that these are "the best years of my life." (OK, it conjures education, too.) And after spending my first day on campus since I graduated in 2007, I can tell you that hasn't changed. I was just in Pennsylvania with Asher Roth and his group of friends, where we visited his old college, West Chester University, and also attended his sold-out concert at the Sherman Theater in nearby East Stroudsburg. Tim Kash wrote updates on the day's activities so I will recap the night as best I can.
The crew and I arrived at the theater to shoot the last interview of the day with Asher. The green room was located underneath the stage and we could hear the opening band above us going wild. As I waited for the man of the hour to hit the stage, the audience started chanting "ASH-ER! ASH-ER!" And when he finally came out, the hometown crowd went wild! Girls pushed each other to get as close to the front rail as they could, guys crowd-surfed, and all kinds of aromas filled the air. It was a party — and the host did not disappoint.
WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania — Most rappers rap about expensive cars and houses. Asher Roth raps, "I can get pizza a dollar a slice." I wondered if that was really true — and if it would be edible, let alone good.
Literally 25 steps from the door of Asher's old address here on Matlack Street is Jake's Bar and Riggtown Pizza. You may never have heard of it, but Asher promised me it's not called "The Epicenter" for nothing, and he was right.
A small bar with $5 pitchers and a shuffleboard table was enough to make the next two hours go by smoothly. Asher might be "the champion of beer pong" but Nick and I beat him and his boy — and it was my first time playing! Read More...
WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania — This week we went back to college with Asher Roth! Fresh from mtvU Spring Break, he's back on the grind: He's finished his latest album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, and we joined him for a trip down memory lane here in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
After setting things up with Asher — who performed at our offices just yesterday — we drove to West Chester to get a tour of his college town and find out how much, as his hit song says, he really did love college.
First stop: West Chester University, where Asher studied "Education." (He majored in elementary education and wanted to be one of those "close the book and really teach" kind of teachers.) Seeing the university was really my first look at American college life. Loads of people turned up to see Asher: Someone told the local radio station and the paper that we were bringing Asher back to shoot a documentary — which we're not really, but it's funny how even here, the news got distorted in the press.
By Steven Roberts
So last night, my boy Alex and I attended a listening session for Asher Roth's debut album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle. MTV chose Asher as one of the MCs to Watch in 2009 and, judging by his reception at mtvU Spring Break and SXSW, he has been the breakout star of the bunch.
Alex is a bit of a superfan. Alex and Asher are both from PA — that's how cool people say Pennsylvania — and if Alex had a few more inches of height and hair and a quick-witted flow, I'm pretty sure he'd be Asher Roth.
To be honest, we went mainly for the free food. Hungry from a day of working hard for the man, we raced over to the studio to preview the album. When we walked upstairs, however, we were handed a single slice of white bread on a white paper plate and, yeah, we got it — he's white.
We grabbed a seat among bloggers, journalists and cool kids alike and waited for the man of the hour, and Asher soon walked in with his casual bed-headed bop. He shook a few hands, kissed a few babies and made his way to a podium, telling us how happy he was that his album was able to unite so many people and thanking everyone for coming out. One thing I love about Asher is that he's a man of the people — I've interviewed him a few times, and he's always saying he wants to bring about change through his music. (A writer at the listening party told us he didn't like Asher's frat-boy image, and I told him he should definitely listen with an open mind. "I Love College" is just one single after all.)
He let his entire album play and, despite the terrible sound, I was impressed. People are going to make the Eminem comparison — they do sound a lot alike — but the content is different. Both have a manic lyrical flow, but Roth doesn't carry around the same baggage — he's just an average kid from the suburbs of PA.
By Melanie Wolfson and Lindsay Wallace
Whoever said that skinny white boys from suburbia can't rap? Anyone on the 24th floor of the MTV headquarters on Tuesday could surely vouch that the fresh beats from Asher Roth suggest otherwise.
The 23-year-old redhead from Pennsylvania broke it down for MTV Networks employees on Tuesday afternoon, pouring his rhymes and wit into a performance that left audience members impressed if not stunned. (Check out photos from the event!) Roth forced even the most timid of audience members to clap and sing along to his beats. This forced audience participation made for an entertaining sight — the floor was shaking from the drum beat, and Asher's constant jumping up and down had everyone dancing and clapping.
Roth kicked off his shoes (literally!) and played four songs, saving his hit single "I Love College" for last. He also told a handful of stories about everything from "not" smoking weed, to releasing his album on 4-20 (i.e. April 20) to his low tolerance for alcohol.
He laughed, "These 18-year-olds are crazy! I have all these college kids come up to me and challenge me to games of beer pong, but I can't drink like I'm 18 anymore. It's like, one glass of wine and I'm f---ed up for the night." Read More...
By Matt Wenzel
According to James Montgomery, Asher Roth is the hip-hop version of CollegeHumor.com. Find out what makes Roth so different from other MCs.
It's Motown week on "American Idol"! Find out which singers we think have an advantage.
And in other "American Idol" news, Ashley Tisdale recently told us about how much she loves the show. She recalls stalking the current cast in the recording studio, as well as meeting Danny Gokey.
In our Newsroom blog, Shaheem Reid looks back to five years ago this week, when Usher released his smash hit Confessions, and talks about how it still holds up today as one of the best R&B albums of the decade.
With Sacha Baron Cohen's new film "Bruno" coming soon, Web sites registered by fake companies related to the movie have been popping up all over the Internet. Read more about the marketing campaign on the Movies Blog.
By Alex Shapiro
It was a big week in the MTV newsroom last week. We were all preparing for the Grammys, and a load of celebs made their way through the office for other reasons. Sigourney Weaver, Flavor Flav and up-and-coming rapper Asher Roth all stopped by.
While it was pretty cool to get my picture taken with Flav, I was psyched to finally meet Asher. I heard his mixtape a while back and really dug it. Then people started making jokes about me having a man-crush on Asher (not funny by the way). Basically, I just relate to the guy. We are the same age and grew up in neighboring towns outside of Philly. (He grew up in Morrisville and I grew up in New Hope.) I wouldn't be surprised if we played soccer or baseball against each other at some point during our childhoods.
So, when he came in to do an interview and appear on "MTV Detox," my colleague Steven Roberts wanted us to meet. When we were introduced, it was just like two dudes hanging out back home. No egos, no bull. I guess, when you're in this industry even for a short while, there are a lot of impersonal interactions you have to go through, so it's nice once in a while to talk with someone who knows where you're coming from. We talked about where we went to high school. We played the name game. And he told me about recently going back to see a band at one of the local bars, John and Peter's, where Ween got their start.
As we talked, I realized Asher was just like all the friends I grew up with in high school ... only with way nicer rap skills.