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

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 will.i.am 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.

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Killer Mike Gives Emotional Speech Urging Peaceful Protests Amid Unrest In Atlanta

Killer Mike joined T.I., and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in delivering emotional pleas to discourage ATLiens from burning the city as protests broke out on Friday (May 29) in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless victims of police brutality.

“I don’t want to be here,” began Killer Mike. “I’m the son of an Atlanta city police officer, my cousin is a police officer…I got a lot of love and respect for police officers down to the original eight [Black] police officers in Atlanta that, even after becoming police, had to dress in a YMCA because white officers didn’t want to get dressed with ni**ers. And here we are, 80 years later and I watched a white officer assassinate a Black man and I know that tore your heart out. I know it’s crippling and I have nothing positive to say in this moment because I don’t want to be here.”

The Atlanta native went on to share background on his family’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and other social justice issues. “I’m duty-bound to be here to simply say, 'It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with the enemy.’”

In what turned out to be another viral moment, Tip called Atlanta “Wakanda” while imploring demonstrators not to destroy the city. “Atlanta has been here for us, this city don’t deserve that. I understand that a lot of others do, but we can’t do this here, this is Wakanda. It’s sacred. It must be protected,” said the 39-year-old rapper.

Mayor Bottoms simply told protestors to simply “go home.”

“Above everything else, I am a mother to four Black children in America, one of whom is 18 years old,” she said. “When I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt. Yesterday, when I heard there was a rumor about violent protests in Atlanta, I did what a mother would do: I called my son and I said ‘where are you?’ I said ‘I cannot protect you and Black boys shouldn’t be out today.’ So you’re not going to out-concern me, and out care about where we are in America.

“I wear this each and every day and I pray over my children each and every day. What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos.”

WATCH: "If you love this city, go home!" https://t.co/c8cPBZLATJ pic.twitter.com/v9IEBVoXpB

— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 30, 2020

At the request of Mayor Bottoms, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency in Fulton County, and deployed 500 troops from the state's national guard.

They will deploy immediately to assist @ga_dps, @GaDNRLE, @GA_Corrections & local law enforcement who are working tirelessly to subdue unlawful activity & restore peace. We will continue to make all state resources available to local leaders during this emergency situation. (2/2)

— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) May 30, 2020

See Killer Mike's full statement below as well as photos and video of the protests.

A powerful scene in Atlanta right now, this gives me chills. pic.twitter.com/SK7oOvzs8g

— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) May 29, 2020

More shots from Atlanta tonight pic.twitter.com/TmUmW5nXxZ

— kieron (@kieroncg) May 30, 2020

The chief of police in Atlanta talking and listening to everyone that has something to say#ATLFORUS #AtlantaProtest pic.twitter.com/qirbQRgViU

— Lilly - BLACK LIVES MATTER (@joonhopekook) May 29, 2020

It’s not just Minneapolis, we are now seeing protests in cities across the country over the death of George Floyd. This is in Atlanta as some smash the glass at our downtown CNN headquarters. #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/iwJxFaUfxW

— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) May 30, 2020

Police cars getting literally destroyed in Atlanta outside the CNN Center pic.twitter.com/x5zRxZVQpb

— Fernando Alfonso III (@fernalfonso) May 29, 2020

Downtown Atlanta right now.... PEACEFUL PROTEST ! #BlackLivesMatter ! pic.twitter.com/6nejzqccVE

— KP 🦋. (@kailynnlee) May 29, 2020

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Breonna Taylor’s Family Vows To Continue Fight For Justice: “Please Keep Saying Her Name”

Breonna Taylor must not be forgotten. The family of the 26-year-old EMT who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March, released a statement encouraging peaceful protests and the continued fight for justice.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear read the statement from Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, on CNN on Friday (May 29).

“Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile, and to bringing people together,” the statement reads. “The last thing she’d want right now is any more violence. Changes are being made, but it’s not enough. We will not stop until there is truth, justice and accountability. Breonna’s legacy will not be forgotten. And it’s because of all of us saying her name and demanding justice. We are saying her name more each day. Thank you.

“Please keep saying her name. Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let’s do it the right way without hurting each other. We can, and we will make some real change here. Now’s the time. Let’s make it happen.”

Seven people were shot during a protest for Taylor in Louisville on Thursday (May 28). The shooting victims were treated and are in stable condition, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher. Fisher also reposted a video message from Taylor’s family urging peace amid the protests.

A message from Breonna Taylor’s family urging protestors to be peaceful, go home and keep fighting for truth. pic.twitter.com/if5MH5UcCW

— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) May 29, 2020

On March 13, 2020, Louisville police officers kicked in Taylor’s door without warning and opened fire. Authorities claim that they were executing a “no-knock” search warrant stemming from an alleged drug investigation involving another man who did not live in Taylor’s home, and had already been arrested.

“Police just unloaded 25 to 30 rounds, I mean they’re shooting from the front door, they’re shooting from the window, they’re shooting from the patio,” attorney Benjamin Crump told Essence on Friday. “They’re so reckless, they shoot a bullet into the next door neighbor’s apartment where their five-year-old daughter is asleep in her room. “They didn’t even have to come in her [Taylor's] apartment. They already had the person they were searching for in custody.”

Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LMPD accusing the department of excessive force and gross negligence. In wake of Taylor’s murder going public, LMPD has changed its policy and will now require no-knock warrants to have a police chief’s signature. The department also made it mandatory for LMPD officers to wear body cameras.

A 911 call made by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, after the shooting was made public on Thursday. “I don’t know what’s happening somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker can be heard saying through tears. Police arrested Walker for shooting at cops whom he assumed were robbers. The charges were later dropped.

Listen to the emotional 911 call below.

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KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

Fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Arrested For Murder Of George Floyd

Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested for the murder of George Floyd on Friday (May 29), Hennepin County D.A. Mike Freeman confirmed at a press conference.

“Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and with manslaughter. He has been charged with third-degree murder,” said Freeman.

“There could be more charges later. The investigation is ongoing. We felt it important to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator,” Freeman said when asked if the three additional fired MPD officers will be charged in Floyd’s murder. The third-degree murder charge suggests that Chauvin had no intent to kill Floyd. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Chauvin's arrest follows three days of protests in an around Minneapolis. On Thursday (May 28), the MPD’s third precinct went up in flames.

The Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct has been set on fire pic.twitter.com/h85rjffLgc

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 29, 2020

“We have never charged a case in that time frame. We can only prove a case when we have substantial evidence,” added Freeman who maintained that the timing of the arrest was a result of a final piece of evidence, although he refused to go into detail. “We have now been able to put together the evidence that we needed. Folks, I’m not gonna’ talk specifically about this piece of evidence, or that piece of evidence. You will see.”

Freeman did however state the that evidence collected in the case includes citizen video, officer body cam footage, witness statements, and a “preliminary report” from the medical examiner.

Chauvin was the officer filmed jamming his knee into Floyd’s neck as he gasped for air and pleaded, “Please! Please! I can’t breathe!”

The fatal incident unfolded on Monday (May 25) afternoon. Police were called to Cup Food grocery store after Floyd allegedly tried to use a fraudulent $20 bill. MPD claimed that Floyd resisted arrest but a security camera recording shows him walking calmly in handcuffs while being escorted to a patrol car by an MPD officer.

Video footage release by store owner who stated George did not resist arrest as stated on the police report #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatters pic.twitter.com/aqFzkPmnEp

— Que ™ (@RealQDaKidd) May 27, 2020

Additional footage, recorded by a teenage bystander, captured Floyd's last few minutes alive. Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Chauvin may have already known Floyd as they both worked security for the Minneapolis club, El Nueva Rodeo.

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