Making a party anthem for the ages is difficult business.
But, as Asher Roth, aka king of all party anthems, knows, once the beat, lyrics and not-giving-a-single-f*ck attitude all come together, it can be truly magical.
But what the man behind college monster song “I Love College” knows all too well is, sometimes, being a hit means losing your voice in the process.
That's why Asher, now 30, is on a journey all his own. With no major label behind him and nobody left to pull strings, he's heading toward a renaissance.
“I would hope this is more of my renaissance than a comeback just because I don't think we've really ever left,” Asher recently told Elite Daily.
The rapper from Pennsylvania had his first brush with fame at just 22 years old when his song, under the direction of Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun, took off in the college party circuit. You literally couldn't walk into a frat, house party, bar or club without hearing the song and wanting to bang back a few shots.
And, of course, Asher was happy about his success, like any sane person would be, but it was the aftermath of becoming a hit that quickly took the shine off stardom.
I remember the first thing that kind of happened to me that I was like, 'really guys, really?' was when 'I Love College' blew up and for the radio stations they wanted me to change college to like all the cities. So it was like 'I love Miami,' you know what I mean, 'I love Vegas' and I remember being in a radio station and they basically asked me 'hey can you do this?' and I was like 'no way.' First of all, the song is already satire anyway, second of all that makes it more of a novelty than it already was becoming so it's like, no.
But standing up for his own creative vision came with a price. As Asher said,
I remember just the reaction of everybody when I said no to that. Because for the most part I'm a team player. Like I'm out here, I understand what my job is, but I want to be part of a fully-functioning team and do my job and do it really well. But when that was happening and I got that request and the reaction to it was 'Oh, Asher doesn't want to cooperate.' What are you guys really trying to do here?
So Asher, on top, walked away.
But the thing is, as anyone working in the industry will tell you, walking away isn't as easy as saying goodbye.
I was going through a very serious transition because I've been transitioning out of major labor music and management with Scooter Braun and all those like kind of big wig guys for years, but contractually and stuff like that, that stuff takes time to go. So, like, even Retrohash still had a couple strings attached to it… It was still my get-out-of-jail-free card.
Finally, though, in 2015, Asher was released from it all.
So with his newfound freedom, he decided to document it all in a new docu-series, “Rap Life.”
When 'Rap Life' picks up, it's actually about six months into my kind of new freedom, and I just broken up with my girlfriend, so when I say in episode 1, 'week one of heartbreak,' it's interesting reflecting and looking back from there and seeing where I was. But at the same time, going through this very serious transition where legitimately, here you are by yourself, there's no relationship in your life that you can use as a crutch, there's no familiar structure that you can use as a crutch, my entire family is on the other side of the country... So it's like here you are, you're by yourself, and guess what? This is really how the world works. It's time to fall in love with yourself.
And where he is now is nowhere you'd expect.
While still in love with rap, Asher said, and shows, his true passion in life is curating the unique and interesting.
I'm pretty aware of the fact I kind of connect a lot with people, and even 'I Love College' was on that tip, with being able to get a lot of people from all walks of life, getting them under the same roof and enjoying kind of the present.
Although he added he hasn't "quite figured it out yet," what he has figured out is a solid new platform to connecting his first passion of music with comedy, video and social commentary on Retrohash.
And it's not that Asher is trying to escape music; in fact, it's quite the opposite. He's hoping that by expanding his creative work, he will once again discover why he loved music so much in the first place.
You know how you don't really appreciate your health until you get really sick? You know I've been healthy for a really long time, so I just need to take something away for a little bit and go over here and come back and rediscover my love for it. AI think that's really where I'm at with music. I had to kind of go over somewhere else for a little bit and rediscover my passion and my love for what I'm doing, because if you don't really have a 'why,' you're in trouble.
But don't think that just because Asher has evolved into a new person in his adult life, he regrets his college days for even a second.
I love it; it's such a good foundation. The difference is what the music industry turned it into. And whenever money is involved and status is involved, that's when things get weird. But 'I Love College' in its simplest form is just a record about camaraderie and innocence and just not worrying and not becoming jaded about the world and just enjoying the present and enjoying your friends and messing around.
In the end, Asher added, for that time of his life, “That song was a journal entry.” Most 20-somethings can probably say the same.