Asher Roth love success, his fans … and college

By Jordan Streussnig

When you hear the name Asher Roth, so many nights of mayhem might swarm to your mind faster than… When you hear the name Asher Roth, so many nights of mayhem might swarm to your mind faster than college kids to a South Oakland house party.

But this popular West Chester, Pa.-based rapper will be the first to tell you — he’s so much more than that.

“People are quick to write you off as a one-hit wonder, but there’s a person underneath all this. It’s not just ‘I Love College,’” Roth said.

Having grown up in a middle-class family in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Roth brings a unique point of view to his subject matter every time he approaches the microphone. Street violence and hip-hop culture were not salient influences in Roth’s childhood, so these topics are not a focus in the music he puts out today.

Roth’s online mixtape, The Greenhouse Effect, hosted by DJ Drama and DJ Don Cannon, includes songs like “Black Mags,” which is a comical and relatable recap of his youth. Other tracks, such as “Just Listen,” take a more serious tone and call for us to look past politics, race, religion and other outside factors to see people for what they are — fellow human beings, our peers.

“I speak for the commoners,” Roth said of his mix of lighthearted and poignant lyrics. “I want people to think of my music as relatable, fun, witty and lyrical.”

But how did a white kid from the suburbs who describes his biggest challenge as getting people to take him seriously join the ranks of some of the biggest names in rap?

It’s quite simple — he took a chance.

During his sophomore year at West Chester University, located outside Philadelphia, Roth sent a MySpace friend request to Scooter Braun, an Atlanta-based promoter.

After listening to Roth’s music on MySpace, Braun contacted the artist.

“Within a week, he asked me if I could fly myself down to Atlanta to talk to him, and I did,” Roth said.

“It was one of those things where he just showed interest, and I took the opportunity and ran with it. It was something about that movie … what’s it called … ‘Borat.’ The spontaneity of that movie,” Roth said, “inspired me to go for it.”

This all took place only about a year ago, and since, Roth has been living almost an entirely different life. He went from living the lyrics of the college anthem to hanging out with the likes of Ludacris and Diddy.

“Going to P. Diddy’s house for the first time was probably one of the craziest experiences I’ve had over the past year,” Roth said.

“We had a steak dinner, rode jet skis and drank pina coladas with real coconut,” he said, “It was so surreal.”

Roth kicked off the homecoming festivities at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania two weekends ago and will continue a series of college concerts next week at West Virginia University and SUNY, Delhi, in New York.