Having successfully broken free of the confines of the frat rap genre he was unceremoniously relegated to after the monster success of his first single, “I Love College,” Asher Roth has graduated into a new phase of personal introspection, social consciousness and an alternative experimental hip hop sound that proves wrong the critics who once designated him as a one hit wonder. Fret not though beer pong players, he is still the same fun loving, down-to-earth, joint smoking, beer drinking guy he was back in 2009. Now 31, his hair is longer, his rhymes are wiser and his world view is focused more on those in need of inspiration rather than intoxication. Asher is more dedicated than ever—not only to his own future, but also the future of his fans. While creating new, authentic music and touring, he is also building a foundation to aid those burdened by student debt. The aptly named I Love College Foundation, inspired by his sister, is still in its infancy, but will soon be a hub for those in need of relief from college debt.
CULTURE recently had an in depth conversation with Asher about his past and present success, his future in music, his tough love style devotion to his fans, and his love for and advocacy of cannabis.
“There are so many people, rather it be for seizures or people suffering from leukemia, using it as medicine. Those are the people I want to speak for.”
You went from being a normal college kid, to a rap star in a relatively short period of time. What was that like?
It happened so fast, you almost don’t even realize what’s happened. When I sat back and realized where I was, and how I’ve come along, it was about getting to a place where I could create a platform that allows me to speak about things I’m passionate about and not just about getting rich and famous.
For those who haven’t followed you since the “I Love College” days, how would describe your current sound?
I like to change things up from project to project, but my drums are always gonna be rooted in hip-hop. Whether we’re using guitar or accordion, it’s gonna be a little tripped out. I don’t ever want it to be the case where someone puts on my stuff and goes ‘Oh, I’ve heard this before.’ I want to keep challenging myself, challenging my listeners, becoming a better songwriter, and developing my sound over time. Alternative experimental hip hop gives me a lot to work with.
Can you tell us about the I Love College Foundation?
Setting up the I Love College Foundation is something I hold dear and is a top priority to me. I’m working out the logistics of the whole thing, we’re going to have to find funding. Proceeds from what I do will go towards it. I meet kids, some are up to 140K in debt. What are you even supposed to do with that? Your introduction into the adult world has you playing from so far behind, and I just don’t think that’s fair. Especially when all you’re pursuing is higher education.
“I got so passionate about marijuana because of how magical it is, and how many people it’s helped. It’s helped me become self-aware, and understand the importance of balance and diet.”
What made you go from being a casual, recreational smoker, to a full-blown cannabis advocate?
Personally, I’m one of the lucky ones. I don’t need cannabis medically. There are so many people, rather it be for seizures or people suffering from leukemia, using it as medicine. Those are the people I want to speak for. I got so passionate about marijuana because of how magical it is, and how many people it’s helped. It’s helped me become self-aware, and understand the importance of balance and diet. It’s grounding. When I smoke, recreationally, I might add, it helps me stay grounded. I can see things that I might not have been as receptive or sensitive to at the time, now I become extremely receptive to.
I just think it’s wildly helpful and a wonderful alternative medicine.
What is your favorite strain? Do you have a preferred method of cannabis consumption?
I tend to lean towards the Kushs, the OG Kushs. I like the heavier stuff at night. I typically go for either sativa hybrids for the daytime and heavier indicas for night. I really enjoy a clean bong rip, I do like smoking joints.
I’m really impressed with the anti-inflammatory properties of CBDs. Marijuana has really helped me when I get bummed out. It gives you a little boost in optimism, like “Hey man, the world’s not a terrible place.” There’s few things better than smoking and going for a walk. The world is so crazy right now! I think we should all smoke a little weed and go for a walk.
So what’s next? Do you have more new music or tour plans in the works?
Retrohash.com is the hub. I built that to have a place to share my music and ideas. When people sign up for the mailing list we send them content like the conversation that you and I are having. My thing is building that up further to be a multimedia company. That’s where I’m at, and rap music is my vehicle. I came back to Philadelphia to work on a record that should be out in 2017. It’s gonna be back to the fun. I’m not making music just for myself, I make it to share. I make it for others to enjoy.