After achieving a Top 5 album on the Billboard 200 Charts and selling over 1.5 million units of his hit single ‘I Love College’, Asher Roth certainly has a lot to be happy about.
The American rapper first appeared on the scene in 2009 with his debut album ‘Asleep In The Bread Aisle’, which instantly gained him comparisons to Eminem. Since then he has worked with the likes of Keri Hilson and Cee-Lo, as well as being endorsed by Kanye West.
We catch up with Asher to find out how he feels about his recent success and working with Pharrell Williams and Swizz Beatz on his sophomore album.
The last time we heard from you was when you were asleep in the bread aisle… but tell us what have you’ve been up to since then?
I’ve actually woken up a little bit since then. I mean waking up in the sense of knowing who I am, my responsibilities and not taking them too seriously. Apart from that it has been great. I also like separating my personal and my business life while having fun, which I think is really important and can be heard through my music.
By the sounds of it you’ve not been sleeping much; but given your new found fame in hip hop, have you been tempted to Google yourself?
No, not so much man but I did earlier on when the first mix-tape ‘The Green House Effect’ dropped. At the time I was like ‘Oh my God’ people are actually talking about me, it was awesome. Nowadays, you are interested in other people’s opinions especially the fans reaching out on Twitter, but either way you can’t really let that affect your mentality.
After the release of your hit record ‘I Love College’ back in 2009, a lot of people compared you to Eminem, but did you at all anticipate that the single would have become so big?
Not at all, it was basically a bit autobiographical, with me saying how I felt at the time, and it just struck a cord with a lot of people. No, I had no idea that it would have become so big.
So, you’re pretty well known for giving your albums some unusual names, and your latest EP is called The Spaghetti Tree – what’s the inspiration behind it?
There was actually a BBC reporter who back in 1957 said on April Fool’s Day that spaghetti grew on trees. It was a big joke at the time,and there were hundreds of people asking how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. It’s just one of those wacky things that you do while at the same time having some fun and enjoying yourself.
You recently hooked up with Pharrell Williams and Swizz Beatz, two of the biggest producers in the business. How was it working with them?
It’s one of those things that you dream about. It was definitely on a next level, in the sense of learning how it all happens. I worked with Pharrell for 12 days in Miami and it was such a great experience. Swizz and I also worked for a day together, and he arrived at the studio at like 4 o’clock in the morning, so when they say these guys work 24 hours a day, it really is true. Whereas Pharrell is really methodical, but we had such a special moment because you talk to somebody, and for them to listen to you and turn your conversation into a musical language is such a great gift. So with both Swizz and Pharrell combined, they really bought something out of me; it was a fabulous experience.
A lot of people may not know this, but you in fact used to hangout with Justin Bieber before he became famous. What’s it like seeing him literally taking over the world?
We used to babysit that kid, and it’s really crazy to see it all go down. He lived down the street from us when he was 13 years old, so when his mother went out he would come and hang out with us, and we’ve even still got recordings of him rapping. He’s such a charismatic kid, and I would like to think that I’m responsible for teaching him his confidence [laughs]… OK, I can’t take responsibility for that, but at the end of day he is just a really fun guy. He’s a bit busy at the moment so I haven’t spoken to him in a while, but I just hope he’s having fun.
So could a possible collaboration with the Bieber be on the cards?
We have a couple of records so there could be. On a serious note, though,Justin is really the voice of the youth right now, especially to those little girls, and even boys really look up to him as a role model. We have records directed to the youth letting them know how powerful they are, but you’ll just have to wait and see.
‘G.R.I.N.D. (Get Ready It’s A New Day)’ by Asher Roth is now available on iTunes It will be followed by his sophomore album The Spaghetti Tree in 2011
Interview by Noel Phillips