Sold as hip-hop's Great White Dope, rapper Asher Roth ("The King of the Blumpkin") came on the scene with the great "I Love College," an infectious slacker anthem as simple as "I love college, I love drinkin', I love women" and with a "Chug! Chug! Chug!" chant in the middle. A hilarious 18-minute freestyle on Tim Westwood's radio show made him all the more lovable, but Asleep in the Bread Isle is an everyday suburban rap album, if there is such a thing. The first problem is the big cut itself, now stripped of its Weezer sample thanks to Rivers Cuomo's reluctance to license the riff to "Say It Ain't So." It blows the whole mash-up charm of the original bootleg, but it's still a party starter, and one with a conscience as it fights against date rape and suggests doubling up on the condoms. That doesn't mean Asher is the responsible type, as "Blunt Cruisin'" drives around town stoned, while "Lark on My Go-Kart" speaks of a "door-matted whore" who needs her feet fixed. If that sounds like Eminem, the differences are outlined on the reggae-fied "As I Em," which explains Asher's relationship to the Slim Shady LP with the brilliant "My Mom brought it down while I was ironing/Irony." The line "Don't get it twisted/I definitely benefited" shows respect, but when the song goes off on a tangent about how hard it is to break through, it seems like side-stepping how Em's debut was filled with danger while Asher's is relatively safe. Smoking weed, having sex, and swearing is hardly riveting material, and when Asher can't turn these topics into something clever, it becomes tiresome. The promising "Fallin'" pulls the rudder up at the last moment, making one believe the rapper could have made a knockout debut if the meteoric rise of "I Love College" hadn't hurried things along.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
feat: Chester French
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