Asher Roth, Asleep in the Bread Aisle (2009)
Label: Schoolboy/SRC/Universal Motown
Saving grace: "Blunt Cruisin"
Clunker: "Bad Day" f/ Jazze Pha
Asleep in the Bread Aisle fell on two different sets of ears and left neither fully satisfied. The first group consisted of fans that checked out the album because they loved the single "I Love College" and left disappointed because the whole thing wasn't a radio ready ode to partying. The second group was made up of fans who were hooked by The Greenhouse Effect's excellent raps over an assortment of beats but felt that Asher's album lacked the hip-hop knowledge and skill boasted on his mixtape.
While Asleep in the Bread Aisle would never be able to please both, it's a shame it didn't please the latter. The rest of Asher's career has seen him follow the path championed by the second section of fans, and he's excelled. His true self is a lyrical weirdo, capable of killing beats like he did on Pabst and Jazz. Unfortunately, he hasn't released a second album to properly show off his skill. In the meanwhile, rappers like Mac Miller (who also dealt with being boxed-in as a "frat rapper") and Wale (who was apart of the same freshman class and also dropped a lackluster debut) were able to recover. Sadly, Asher hasn't been able to do the same. —Max Goldberg