Asher Roth Talks Challenging Pharrell, Organized Noize & Almost Leaving Rap


Mikey Fresh / October 12, 2010

Asher Roth’s finally ready to leave his bong at the frat house and step into the real world of rap. Roth’s Seared Foie Gras with Quince and Cranberry mixtape which dropped this past March found the suburban rhymer taking on a more serious outlook on his life. Clearly frustrated with the music industry’s constant facades, Asher’s reacquainted himself with the man in the mirror. Clearheaded and in high spirits, the Pennsylvania native caught up with VIBE to discuss his sophomore album, working with Pharrell and Organized Noize, almost leaving rap and helping to change the world.—Mikey Fresh

VIBE: You’ve come up with the title The Spaghetti Tree for your sophomore album. What’s that about?

Asher Roth: First off, “Spaghetti Tree” just comes from weed talk. Weed that makes you feel like spaghetti—just chillen’, cracking jokes, and enjoying yourself—so that’s the left hand. The right hand comes from a BBC report dating back to 1957. On April Fool’s day of that year, the BBC reported that spaghetti grew on trees, and it was a teacher that came to them saying her students actually believed them. And thousands more ended up asking the BBC how they can grow spaghetti trees! [Laughs]

Two sides to every story kind of thing?

Yea, to me it just totally optimized my album. You put the two hands together—the one ‘Hey let’s just have fun and party’ but also the ‘Let’s smarten up, prioritize, and get our shit together’ and that’s what my album represents. Hip-Hop from my own experience is such an important voice for the youth. If we just keep talking about the stuff that doesn’t matter, all the materialism, the kids are going to still grow up on that shit. I want to still make fun music, but throw some content in there too.

Are you trying to disguise your message?

It’s definitely not disguised, but moreso broken down. The content is there right in your face. I’m not trying to hide the messages or speak metaphorically. It’s just that people are scared of being told something. Even in “G.R.I.N.D.”, when I say I don’t want to be a preacher—that’s very important. I’m just trying to express how I feel and get across my opinions in the form of hip-hop. Titling an album is not all that easy. I just want people to have to think about it for a minute. I love questions that are a little open-ended.

I know you already worked with Pharrell and Nottz. How far along with the album are you?

I mean we’ve had to make a couple compromises and sacrifices along the way, but we’re about 60% done with the album. We have a really good idea where we’re heading sound-wise. I’ve already recorded with Pharrell, Nottz, Ryan Leslie, and Organized Noize, and there’s still a lot more music I’m going to record. If everything goes to plan everyone is going to have three joints on there. It’s going to be one sound though as a whole. I’m really being methodical with this project. That’s kind of my mission statement. And I’m still going to drop an EP with Nottz, first.

What about guest features?

We haven’t really got there yet. Not yet. Game got on “Splish Splash” because he was just there in the studio. I think it’s great to make the music and then figure out who would sound good on what. Robin Thicke did get on one though, but we’ll see if it’ll stick around. I just linked up with Cannon and I still want to come holla at me because I want to talk some “Joints and Jams” type shit. He’s super talented. It really just comes down if they want to do it or not at this point. I don’t have big money. I mean wish I could say lets get in the studio for a million dollars but it’s just not like that.

At least you’re one of the few younger rappers who understands how the game has changed.

And I don’t know if a lot of artists understand the word “recoupable”. A lot of this shit is loans. With that being said on the unfortunate business side of things you want to make an efficient album as well as a creative album. But I’m blessed with being around beautiful people who want to help. Everyone who I worked with already is doing for purposes other than to make money.