Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Response to HipHopDX's Review of Asleep In The Bread Aisle

You can find the (2 out of 5 X's) review by Kevin Gary here, and my response below. I'm curious to see if Mr. Gary ever sees this and responds, haha.

Dear Hater,

An old cliché asks: do you listen to music, or just skim through it? From your review of Asleep In The Bread Aisle it looks like you just skimmed through it. You only reviewed seven of the twelve songs on the album, and that's not even counting the three bonus tracks, “Perfectionist,” “The Lounge,” and “Y.O.U.” Out of the seven tracks that you did review, the focus was entirely on the negative except three times, and the praise of producer Oren Yorel. I found your review to be at times – aw who am I kidding? Completely ridiculous and unfair.

Your first issue seems to be with Roth's singles “Lark On My Go Kart,” and “I Love College.” First claiming that “Roth lazily slaps words together, not caring if what he says is interesting or even if it makes any sense, . . . content to simply mention things meant to hit 20-something’s nostalgia centers, hoping that recognition of a shared memory will endear his music to them.” Oh man, how dare he try to appeal to his own age group and the kids who are like him! “Lark On My Go Kart” may seem to ramble at times, but the flow is nice, the beat is dope and he even has some nice word play in there with lines like “any Tim Duncan/spur of the moment/let the whole world know I run shit.” The man isn't a thug, hustler, or bad ass. Roth is a 20-something college kid and he stays true to his own roots on both of these singles, just a kid trying to have fun. The song is about being a lazy, partying, college kid! What else could you expect but a laid-back flow and lyrics about beer pong and passing out? Neither song is top-notch, but “I Love College” is to today's college kids as “Hustlers Muzic” is to street kids, an fun anthem. And you can't deny that.

Next up you take on Roth's more serious songs in “Sour Patch Kids,” As I Em,” “His Dream,” and “Fallin'.” Somewhat predictably, you seemed to have skimmed through these songs, too. “Sour Patch Kids” definitely isn't anything original as far as topics go and no doubt some of the lines aren't “earth shattering” but he picks it up in the second and third verses with his flow and lyrics to make a decent, granted not amazing, song. According to your review, “On 'As I Em' . . . he addresses all the Eminem comparisons, a bold and respectable move. But bizarrely, he seems to think the best way of contrasting himself with Em is to put on the Detroit rapper’s hard man persona.” In a song where Asher definitely shows some extra emotion, you discredit him because he sounds like Em? Did you miss the line, homie? “Cause we have the same complexion and similar voice inflection/its easy to see the pieces and the reach for that connection.” Yorel put together a nice background, Ash went off and the Chester French feature adds some nice finishing touches. Take another listen to his second verse: “Y'all talk all you want, never halt me from my mission/use it as ammunition, would you please keep dissin' me?/I hear it/and yeah the haters wanna hate because I made it and I'm famous/but until you take my place, you'll never know 'bout what it takes to make a record for respect/take a second to inspect/when you look like someone else then what the fuck do you expect?” Ah well, at least you gave him credit for “Fallin',” one of the top songs off the album with a sick sample from Ben Kweller.

As for the rest of the album, it's no where near as horrible as you make it sound. “La Di Da” is a great escape song that you can throw some headphones on and just vibe out to. “Be By Myself” is a catchy song featuring Cee-Lo about exactly what the title suggests that could make for one of the better singles. “She Don't Wanna Man” with Keri Hilson doesn't seem to be much but filler and is maybe the worst song on the album. However, Ash and Busta Rhymes let it rip on the track “Lion's Roar” which is laced by Yorel's band, New Kingdom. And ladies and gentlemen, with the next track, “Bad Day,” Asher manages to put together a song featuring Jazze Pha that is actually tolerable! Not an easy task considering how many songs that man has wrecked. With the bonus tracks, Roth delivers two songs that definitely would have been great for the album, “Perfectionist,” with Beanie Sigel and Rock City, along with a track off his mixtape with DJ Cannon, “The Lounge” is one of his best works. The third and final bonus track, from the UK isn't anything special but it is a fun track with a nice cameo from an old legend, Slick Rick. So give this album a full listen, because it's “Sick wit' it, game spittin' to the limits/see Asher Roth ain't no joke.”

Overall, the CD is a mostly fun and at times serious. The lyrics are above average and the production is sick. Asher definitely has a lot of room to grow, but he put out a solid first effort that is above a lot of stuff out today even with its missteps. I'll call it a 3.8/5.

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