“According to mathematics and astrology, 12 years typically marks the closing of a cycle and the start of a new one,” explains Asher Roth. “That’s where we are right now.” A dozen years ago, Asher Roth was atop the charts and on magazine covers. However, despite the mainstream popularity, the music represented a passing moment in the artist’s life. In the decade since, Asher has bucked the system and taken the scenic route on a creative mission fueled by artistic integrity, songwriting, and expansion. On September 3, Asher revisits his roots with Greenhouse Effect, Volume 3. The former student now becomes the teacher for the trilogy of a respected mixtape franchise. In completing a 12-year-cycle, Asher Roth presents his personal and artistic growth and cultivates and empowers a new crop of talented MCs and producers.
Nearly 15 years ago, Asher demonstrated a passion for making music and rapping. A student of the great MCs, the Morrisville, Pennsylvania native blended advanced flows with far-reaching references that spanned a love of pop culture, sports, and comedy. After posting songs online during his time at West Chester University, Asher relocated to Atlanta. There, he partnered with DJ Drama and Don Cannon for 2008’s The Greenhouse Effect. The self-released mixtape propelled Asher to recognition in the Hip-Hop community as a skillful MC with a unique style. “It meant so much to so many people and for me too, as far as this carefreeness,” he says. Roth signed to a major, released a double-platinum single, and a gold debut, 2009’s Asleep In The Bread Aisle. While “I Love College” remains a hallmark of the times, the song became a caricature for an artist pursuing an evergreen career. “When you’re first coming in, you just want everybody to like you. The harsh reality is that’s not gonna happen,” Asher says of some industry pushback and creative tug of war. “I realized it was never gonna be about my music.”
Despite that realization, throughout the last decade, Asher Roth made his music speak the loudest. 2010’s Seared Foie Gras with Quince and Cranberry mixtape made this priority clear, thumbing a nose at knee-jerk perceptions. Projects with Travis Barker, Nottz, Blended Babies, and a 2014 Greenhouse Effect sequel earned acclaim while cultivating a core fanbase. That stride carried into solo albums, Retrohash and Flowers On The Weekend. Friends like Buddy, Lil Yachty, Joyce Wrice, and others joined the party. Of the 2020 DIY LP produced by Rob Devious, Asher considers it “a benchmark for me as far as the maturation process and affirmation that I’m going the right way. I was aiming to write genuine songs.” That album arrived during a season when Asher returned to Philly after stints in LA and New York. As chronicled on “Mommydog,” the son, brother, and uncle was now comfortably near to his family and closest friends.
Since laying down roots, Asher helped create and enrich a sustainable gathering space and venue, Sunflower Philly. That desire to plant seeds is also reflected in the art. In January 2021, Asher tweeted an invitation to participate in Greenhouse Effect 3. When much of the world was isolated, Roth connected creators. Over 20 weeks on Twitch and Discord, Asher mentored and developed artists. Twelve producers span 15 tracks, with MCs from St. Louis, Boston, Buffalo, and the Bronx (care of fellow 2009 XXL Freshman alum Mickey Factz). Asher appears as a Horticulture professor at the “University of College,” teaching a new generation how to grow Retrohash. The cohesive concept is elaborate, intricate, and fun. While embracing his past, Asher Roth uses deliberate imagery to plan for his future. He declares, “Plants, patience, growth, and artist development are metaphoric things that will be part of my world for a while.”
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