Tonight marks the start of the 2010 World Series. This year’s fall classic features a first time appearance from Nolan Ryan’s Texas Rangers, and a return from one of baseball’s storied franchises, the San Francisco Giants. One viewer is Philadelphia native Asher Roth, who despite growing up in a city that had baseball stars like Mike Schmidt, Lenny Dykstra and Chase Utley, admitted to HipHopDX last week, that he’s a supporter of the black and orange.
“I’m a [San Francisco] Giants fan. Willie Mays… blame it on Willie!” Asher Roth told DX last Thursday. Speaking about the Hall of Fame Center Fielder from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, Roth said, “I met him when I was three [years old]. I have a signed card from him and everything, that’s like my hero.” Roth revealed that he became a Giants fan after his father, who lived in the west coast amidst the era where the ball-club relocated from its Polo Grounds home in Uptown Manhattan. “[My father] latched on, and passed it onto me. I latched onto the Will Clark’s, the Kirt Manwaring’s, the Jeff Kent’s and Barry Bonds,” said Roth, referring the 1990s lineup of the team. Looking at the 2010 Giants, Asher noted, “I’m really feeling this team ’cause we’re doing it with a bunch of [lesser-publicized players] like Cody Ross and dominant pitching. I’m a pitching kid.” On the hitting side, Asher credited the team’s stellar young catcher, “Buster Posey is being a really patient, good hitter, taking the ball the other way.”
To most though, Asher Roth is known for his music more than his sports allegiances. HipHopDX spoke to the SRC Records artist about his forthcoming sophomore album, The Spaghetti Tree. The work has long been promised to reflect Roth’s love affair he developed with the Hip Hop made 10 and 15 years ago. According to the artist though, this vision counters some of the success he and his label enjoyed with last April’s Top 5 debut, Asleep In The Bread Aisle. “In the music business, doing what you want to do, screws a lot of people up – especially when your vision doesn’t coincide with the people who are distributing your music,” he said, likely referring to his label. “It’s a tough position to take, but I’m pretty dead-set on not compromising who I am.” With Asher Roth’s strong grassroots success making him a leading rookie of last year, the artist counts on those same strategies that carried him to the mainstream to uphold his artistic authenticity. “I’m pretty fortunate enough to be in a situation where we have the Facebooks and the Twitters of the world, where people aren’t only getting to know you strictly through your music. At the end of the day though, that’s still your foundation, your focal point and your voice.”
With six-figure sales of his aforementioned debut, Asher Roth faces a tough decision in balancing commercial viability with the kind of intentions he’s stated for The Spaghetti Tree. However, the New York-based emcee has already made up his mind. “It’s a tough position, but I took the stance of, I want to sleep at night. I don’t want to be that dude that has all the money in the world and is completely unhappy. I didn’t want to take that [other] stance, so I just decided [that I would] work with people that I love and respect. It’s gonna make my job much easier – just making dope music with dope rhymes, and hope that’s the stuff that shines through.”
HipHopDX asked Asher Roth to elaborate on what has been accomplished and recorded with The Spaghetti Tree, presently slated for second-quarter 2011 release. “I did some really weird, interesting, awesome shit with Organized Noize,” revealed Asher, of the trio of Sleepy Brown, Rico Wade and Ray Murray, who have made countless hits for Outkast and The Dungeon Family. “We had a fucking blast! Rico [Wade] and I linked up early, early on when I was in Atlanta, and we always talked about doing some stuff, and we ended up linking on the [2009 BET] Hip Hop Awards.” Earlier this year, that happened. “We ended up linking for three or four days, and we ended up getting three records done. We really want to get back in together, ’cause we weren’t in Atlanta at the time; we were both in L.A., and just wanted to book a studio and do work.” Among the three recorded works with the Georgia-based outfit, Asher Roth is partial to one in particular. “There’s this record called ‘Lunchbox’ that’s just so fun!…I’m at [SRC Records] right now, just lobbying for them to put out that record, but the only thing is, it doesn’t like anything else out.” According to Roth, the label agenda doesn’t necessarily align with the song, “When you have radio and shit like that, and people trying to cater to radio, it’s so wack, dude. It’s so lame!”
Asher also confirmed that besides Organized Noize, he has completed work with two Virginia natives, Pharrell and Nottz. Ryan Leslie is also sending the emcee track considerations. With the original agenda for The SpaghettiTree reported to be collaborations with the 25 year-old emcee and legendary 1990s east coast Hip Hop production titans, the course has stayed, not strayed. “I worked with Q-Tip; we’re gonna get back in with Tip. Pete Rock and [DJ] Premier, that’s all still going down. I’m back [on the] east coast getting situated with them.”
As he sat in SRC’s Universal Building offices, Asher Roth stressed that no matter how much of his plan he executes, he’s still faced with a label to appease. “It’s really unfortunate to be in a position where you have people that might not share your vision, and it’s strictly fiscal. It’s strictly monetary reasons.” However, although frustrated, Asher Roth again looks to his fans that delivered him to this stardom. “At the end of the day, I need to utilize resources like the Internet to give my true fan-base what they want to see, which is just some dope shit.”