I guess this is all coming with just getting older.
That, and also seeing how my music touches kids. I’m 25 now, so I’ve formed my opinions but those 13,14,15-year-old kids haven’t and they look to us. I try not to let it affect my music but I want them to know that I care and give a shit about how they feel.
Can you tell me more about some of your new interests?
I use my voice other ways than just rapping. I’ve started to branch out and speak at conferences, different charities, and stuff like that. I just did the Breast Cancer concert, I worked with Pepsi Refresh speaking at schools, and I’m doing Pencils of Promise building schools in Nicaragua and Laos and it’s going to branch out to all third world countries. But as far as the entertainment business, I just can’t get down. I don’t really like it. Music and hip-hop I will always love, and I’ll always voice how I feel. But you’ll probably see me doing things that help other people. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to have fun and have sex with beautiful women [laughs]. Seriously, though, there’s so much more we need to do and we need people to give a shit. It’s really not that tough to get out and do something small —it all helps. We’re literally building schools for 50 bucks. 5 billion dollars goes into archiving Twitter and we still can’t cure cancer?! That’s just crazy. It’s time to prioritize.
Do you feel like you have a greater calling over music?
It’s just fulfillment for me. I’m not into just making a bunch rap songs about how I’m amazing I am. It might give me shits and giggles. But the shit that gets me out of bed is knowing that we can do something to help better the place we live in.
How long do you think you’ll continue to rap for?
I don’t think I’ll have 10 albums. Three seems to be the magic number. If you look at the majority of artists things get a bit shaky after three albums. With the exception of Jay-Z. [Laughs] But I think somewhere between three and five albums is where I’m heading. I feel like after that, you repeat yourself a lot. I feel like once you say it once—you shouldn’t have to say it again.
It really seemed like you wanted to step away from the spotlight as it was being put on you more and more with the success of “I Love College”.
I had to step away for a bit. I turned everything off and just went the fuck home. It got to point where there were a lot of band wagon people around. The “Fuck The Money” record with B.o.B. really inspired that. Me and B.o.B. got cool while on we were on tour. I swear to you I did my part in 26 minutes—from writing it to recording it. It summed up how I felt at the time about the music industry.
Were you close to calling it quits though?
I had thoughts but I was just a kid when my music started taking off. The Greenhouse effect happened when I was around 19-20 and my first album 21-22—it came to a point whether I had to decide if I was going to let other people control my life or take reigns. Anybody can say I made the wrong or right decision, but I know it’s what I wanted. I have no one else to blame but myself and I love that.
This is the new and improved Asher Roth [laughs].
You’re going to hear when you hear these records with Organized Noize. People might have had a certain expectation of me to stay as this party kid, but when “I Love College” blew up there was so much more going on in the world. It was just a fun experience for me. I look back realize it was a great attention getter and there was no way better way to introduce myself. Now, I’m just growing up. People don’t stay in college forever. I want people to realize that.