Asher Roth


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Launching his career with the privileged slacker anthem "I Love College" made Asher Roth the pigeonholed poster child of frat rap, but on releases like The Rawth EP and various mixtapes released since the single, the man has experienced a Mac Miller-sized evolution and diversification of sound. Perhaps too diverse for this 2014 sophomore release to hold, as good ideas and attractive new sounds pour out of the speakers at will, but even if there isn't a pop anchor or any sane explanation of how Roth went from party animal to boundary pusher, breezy disco rap is born on the key track "Tangerine Girl," and for that fresh sound, hip-hop owes RetroHash some gratitude. "Parties at the Disco" isn't the expected garish party track but a thoughtful pack of blues-rap featuring Z.Z. Hill and some Wes Montgomery-flavored guitar work, while "Fast Life" is the thematic surprise of the album, cautioning the preteens that life is accelerating at a frightening pace and bad choices made before the age of 20 sometimes stick for a whole lifetime. Much smarter and trying harder than previous, RetroHash isn't just admirable, as it's quite awesome in parts, and yet the track list begs to be shuffled, especially the bookending features with Z.Z. Hill (the album seems to emerge from the mist...) and Chuck Inglish (...and then exit like evanescence). Regardless, blunted afternoons of hanging out could use this kind of loose soundtrack, plus anyone who ever used Roth as a punching bag representing pop-rap pap will find no ammo in RetroHash's goopy dollop of sticky icky.