Asher Roth Reflects On "I Love College", Explains "Muddy Swim Trunks" Video
Exclusive: Despite making a college anthem, Roth's alma mater, West Chester University will not let him perform, and the emcee talks about his favorite grub stops in New York City.
Last month, HipHopDX spoke to Asher Roth. The SRC Records emcee revealed his intentions and creative battle for 2011's The Spaghetti Tree in part one of our discussion. In part two, Asher looks back at one of the year's more impressive videos, "Muddy Swim Trunks" from his Seared Foie Gras with Quince and Cranberry mixtape, as well as a reflection back to 2009 hit "I Love College."
The BBGun-directed "Muddy Swim Trunks" video premiered this May. With brief nudity, drug use and some dazzling match-cutting, the video found Asher Roth in constant action, delivering some of the most deft rhymes of his career as he navigates through a supermarket. However, more than just an impressive visual, Roth told DX the video was symbolic of his recent years. "I made a conscious decision to move to New York City. I'm from Bucks County [Pennsylvania], unashamed; I love it there. But by the time you're 12, 13 years old, you're like, 'Alright, I've learned everything I can learn in Bucks County.'" From his suburban upbringing just north of Philadelphia, Asher says he felt immediately influenced by the city that never sleeps just 90 miles up the New Jersey Turnpike. "In getting here, I feel like the stimulus that is New York City, and the people I started hanging out with, it all spilled over into 'Muddy Swim Trunks' and what Seared Fois Gras is."
Evident in the video's first five seconds, the verse and its visual were about progression for Roth. "Asleep In The Bread Aisle dropped, and I love that record. At the same time, [we were] trying to make sense of 'I Love College.' That record started when I was doing The Greenhouse Effect and just kind of blew up. It was a grassroots thing. It exploded, but it was what it was."
The mixtape in total gave Roth the creative control he shared for his Top 10 debut album. "Once it was about, 'Hey Ash, what do you want to do, that's where [Seared Foie Gras with Quince and Cranberry] came about. It's a little left with the title, and it's driven by lyrics. But that project is so me, from the choosing of the beats to putting DJ Wreckineyez to blend the whole thing together." The song uses a Madlib-produced beat that was first featured on 1999's Soundpieces: Da Antidote album, a Hip Hop rarity, as well as on tracks made by Pacewon and Sean Price.
Flowing off of the mixtape's title, it had long been rumored that Roth's New York City acclamation included a love of the city's many eateries. DX asked Asher about his favorite local grub spots. "I love Caracus Arriba Bar on 7th Street and I'm constantly eating Snack Dragon, which is tacos. As far as nutrition and things of that nature, I would say that a Mexican diet is something I'm down with - just chicken tacos, with some blue corn tortillas, with some Yum Yum on top of that, with some rice and beans. That's a good, hearty meal for me." Noting that he also asks locals for suggestions when he's on the road, Roth urges visitors in his city to try Caracus Arriba's A-8 menu dish.
Lastly, as a wave of new party-minded, college-friendly emcees such as Trinity's Sam Adams, and Duke's Mike Posner, Asher was asked if he felt like a pioneer in the movement. The emcee expressed his pleasure that party-records continue to be made, and acknowledged his own affinity for the song that helped him garner international attention. "I believe that 'I Love College' will hopefully be in jukeboxes for the rest of our lives," said Roth. It really encompasses that experience."
Despite the fact that the record became an anthem to 18-22 years-olds last year, Asher's own alma mater is none too pleased. "I can't even go back and perform at West Chester University, where I went to school, 'cause I'm talkin' about 'drink my beer and smoke my weed,' and they [claim] 'that's not what college is about.'" Still, Roth deduces that the song was about more than sex, smoking and beer-pong. "Anybody who is really down to earth and in touch with themselves understands that college about learning who you are and branching out, meeting new people and new experiences. I love the record; it gave me a great foundation."
As Asher continues working on a more traditional Rap album alongside legends like Pharrell, Q-Tip and Nottz, the emcee is proud of his hit that landed him some criticism last year. "I have no regrets, I love the record. I just hope people are willing to move forward from it, 'cause people do grow up. That's the only thing that's kind of a bummer, is some people want 'I Love College, Part 2.' You graduate." Word to Kanye West.
The Spaghetti Tree is presently planned for second quarter release in 2011 on SRC Records.