‘I Love College’ rapper Asher Roth returns with ‘RetroHash’

Roth's second album comes five years after his debut. He plays at the Barbary in Philly on April 2, at Brighton Music Hall in Allston, Mass. on April 4 and The Westway in NYC on April 5.(Credit: Brock Fetch)
Roth’s second album comes five years after his debut. He plays at the Barbary in Philly on April 2, at Brighton Music Hall in Allston, Mass., on April 4 and The Westway in NYC on April 5. Credit: Brock Fetch

After five years, Asher Roth is set to release his second full-length album, “RetroHash.” The rapper, best known for the hit single “I Love College,” has a new address, a new mindset and, hopefully, some new hit songs.

Roth’s first album, “Asleep in the Bread Aisle,” was released in 2009 under the Island Def Jam record label. This second album, however, is largely self-released.

“It was just a matter of finding the right home,” Roth says. “No worrying about the marketplace or any trying to get into the head of the consumer that the business tries to do. Just really concentrating on making dope music that I like and that my friends like, and that’s it.”

After being mostly absent from the rap scene for five years, Roth says he is very excited to complete his long transition and finally release a new album. He has released four mixtapes and stresses that there was never a lull in his creativity.

“I don’t think that five years stepped away hurt,” Roth says. “More so, if anything, I think it helped me. It allowed me to kind of step away and grow without feeling those pressures.”

Roth says that “RetroHash,” produced by the Blended Babies, is evidence of his maturation. Living in L.A. helped him grow up, and gave his album fresh feeling of renewal.

“It’s different, man,” Roth says. “It’s definitely me growing up. It’s just me being who I am, very freedom-oriented. That excites me. I’m really excited to share this with the world, kind of let them know who I am.”

The album was made in a very laid-back manner.

“It was the way it was supposed to be, man,” Roth says. “No sitting around, A&Rs checking me saying, ‘You need to do this, you need to do that.’ It was literally hanging out in the living room, recording vocals in the living room.”

The album got its name, which is an anagram for Asher Roth, after his girlfriend emailed him a list of anagrams as a joke.

“It was just one of those things that was meant to be,” says Roth. “The timing of the email, [we were] nearing completion of the album, and the vibe. It sounds and it feels like ‘RetroHash.’”

“RetroHash” offers the chance for Roth to step away from “I Love College” and allow fans to see more of him. While he can’t blame fans who only know that hit, he says he hopes they take a closer look.

“They might not want you to grow up sometimes,” Roth says. “But I really do think I have something to offer, especially in the hip-hop world. That’s why I’m excited for this record; I feel like it’s something that will allow people to look at me in a different light.”

The lead single, “Tangerine Girl,” bears little resemblance to “I Love College.” Roth speaks excitedly of its creation.

“You can feel it’s a very natural record, nothing’s very forced,” Roth says. “I just love to create, and I feel like with that record, you feel like it was fun to make.”

Also different is the way Roth plans to celebrate the release of this album. His band will play “RetroHash” live, in its entirety, at performances in Philadelphia, Boston and New York. He says the idea came to him after taking in several listening sessions.

“From that experience I was like, ‘You know what would be really dope is if we played the album live for the first time,’” Roth says. “Obviously, it will be a different experience than hearing recorded music. But, you know, I love live music.”


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