Whether you love college or not, it's time to belly up to the table to taste 18 tracks of Asher Roth's latest mixtape Seared Foie Gras with Quince and Cranberry.
Ever since Roth released his highly touted DJ Drama and Don Cannon-curated GreenHouse Effect mixtape in 2008, I've been waiting for Roth to live up to the hype and truly deliver the album he says he can.
But sadly, I never woke up from last year's snooze-inducing full-length debut Asleep in the Bread Aisle.
So now with Roth's third mixtape Seared Foie Gras with Quince and Cranberry we might have a better idea of where the he's headed. Listening closely to the mixtape it seems that he's spent time rethinking his inspirations for rhyming. He's also teamed up with DJ Wreckineyez to assemble a proven group of master chef producers to help out. Kanye West, the late great J Dilla, Timbaland, Will.i.am, Just Blaze and others all "serve up" cerebral hooks, hypnotic rhythms, and club-ready tracks to create a meaty meal full of jazz and funk beats and soulful turntablist scratching.
Fans expecting the same feel and fun as The GreenHouse Effect mixtape will likely send Foie Gras back to the kitchen because it's not the same Roth. It definitely doesn't have the same type of humor and playfulness that The GreenHouse Effect mixtape did when Roth rapped cleverly about having sex with his favorite female cartoon characters. It was those type of moments that made me take notice and primed me for his debut album last year.
That said, I had a hard time staying interested in what Roth has to say? But after a few times through my sonic taste buds started to adapt and the tracks started to grow on me.
For the most part Roth sticks to his guns and rocks his usual laid back but confident flow. And like he has in the past, he shows off that he's a word play wizard by bending syllables, making words rhyme that shouldn't, and delivering a few funny unexpected punchlines like the deviant verse jester that he is.
There's no doubt in my mind that Roth can rhyme a witty and entertaining 16 bars just as well as the average rapper can. But after this third mixtape and the tiresome Asleep in the Bread Aisle I have looming doubts that he has anything to say. I feel like there's something missing here; like he's a little too laid back, too.
But listening closely to Foie Gras it seems that Roth is honestly trying to turn a corner and leave some of his childish ways behind him, especially when he raps about his past, present and future on "I'm Eddy." "There comes a time when you need to mature a little bit / not mature all the way but you need to just grow up a little bit and make some better decisions. And I'm there right now…"
Those lyrics become even more sincere as Roth flows over Heatmaker's production that combines a big thumping beat complimented with a soulful chipmunked vocal hook sampled from Barbara Mason's "Yes, I'm Ready." At the end of the track you actually start believing that Roth might be serious about taking his rhymes to the next level.
Roth ends the mixtape with a "Bread Aisle" leftover with a remix of "Sour Patch Kids" featuring the live righteous rhymes of emcee Talib Kewli.
When it comes time to pay the check, Foie Gras does satisfy on some levels but still, it leaves you with more questions than answers about whether he has anything new to add to hip hop. Is Roth really ready to move on and up in the rap game and live up to the hype? Can we expect a new Asher Roth to emerge on the next album?
Download Foie Gras for free here.