Asher Roth

Asher Roth

In the 1999 film Whiteboyz, Danny Hoch portrayed a suburban white teen living out a neo-minstrel fantasy through hip-hop. The movie summarized the tropes of the contemporary wigger -- or as Norman Mailer would say, the "white negro" -- and the skepticism of white youth embracing hip-hop. Around the same time a young white rapper named Eminem arose to become the preeminent pop star of the late '90s and early '00s. Eminem's success notably did not prompt the rise of other white hip-hop artists in the way that Elvis Presley opened the door for numerous white rock 'n' roll musicians. So in the subsequent years, white rappers have remained non-mainstream outliers.

In this context rapper Asher Roth rose to prominence in 2008. An admitted late convert to hip-hop (the first hip-hop song that grabbed his attention was Jay-Z's 1998 hit "Hard Knock Life"), the suburban-born, white Roth garnered media attention in spite of carrying such familiar, cultural baggage. He worked with former So So Def VP of Marketing Scooter Braun to secure a record deal in 2008. That same year he released a mixtape, The Greenhouse Effect, with DJ Drama and Don Cannon. The following year he released his debut album, Asleep In The Bread Aisle. He toured with the reunited Blink-182 in support of the record. He was also included in XXL magazine's "Freshmen 10" list of up-and-coming talent. ~Dan Nishimoto

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