Listen to new song "Tangerine Girl," from the April full-length, first at Billboard.com.
"Growing up is inevitable," Asher Roth tells Billboard when talking about his new album, "RetroHash." Five years ago, the Pennsylvania rapper was not talking about maturity -- he was chanting the words "chug" and "keg stand" on "I Love College," his breakout single which eventually peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100 chart. But with "RetroHash," due out on Apr. 22, the 28-year-old rapper has graduated to a more adult lyrical focus, as evident on the funky, blissed-out new album track "Tangerine Girl." Listen below:
In the half-decade since the release of Roth's 2009 debut album "Asleep In The Bread Aisle," which has sold 214,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan, the rapper has relocated from the Philadelphia area to sunny Los Angeles, which he cites as a key influence on the "wave" vibe of "RetroHash." And years after extolling the virtues of endless partying on record, the rapper now says that he has transformed his diet, without quite becoming a health food fanatic.
"I think the key word is 'balance,'" says Roth. "I'm still out drinking beer. I still like to partake in my recreational marijuana. It's one of those things where I want to operate at a high level. My whole thing with 'RetroHash' is progress -- every day, topping what I did yesterday… Sometimes you gotta eat Chick-Fil-A at 3:00 in the morning, but it's all about moderation."
In late 2011, Roth signed a deal with Def Jam Recordings and prepped his sophomore album, then titled "Is This Too Orange?," for a March 2012 release. That month came and went without an album out, but Roth kept his head down, putting out mixtapes like "Pabst & Jazz" and "The Greenhouse Effect Vol. 2" while awaiting an opportunity to release a new album. "RetroHash" eventually morphed into a self-released project, with no Def Jam affiliation.
"People are like, 'Where have you been? What have you been doing?'" says Roth. "And I understand that I haven't been able to sell music in five years, because of everything that was happening, and I didn't want to dig myself into a deeper hole from a commitment standpoint with the major labels. But I was still putting out music and working on my craft. I think, with 'RetroHash,' even though it's going to be an official release, it's going to be much more of trying things."
"RetroHash" (an anagram for 'Asher Roth,' natch) was produced entirely by the Blended Babies, and features collaboration with ZZ Ward and Vic Mensa, the latter on the track "Fast Life." On March 15, Roth will host a "live listening session" of the forthcoming full-length at South By Southwest, performing the full album live at the Blackheart Bar with special guests the Pharcyde.
After years of various setbacks and release date pushbacks, Roth sounds practically giddy for his fans to finally hear the proper sequel to "Asleep In The Bread Aisle."
"The past year was doing all the organization and prep work, and making sure the foundation was there, [so] that when we do start putting out music, it would be a consistent flow," he says. "'I Love College' was an honest record that worked. But instead of doing that again and again, it's like, 'Let's try something new.'
"'RetroHash,' as a whole, is a record of renewal and self-discovery," he continues. "It's not Asher trying to be this or that -- it's just me trying to be me."
Following the SXSW performance, Roth will bring "RetroHash" to the East Coast for a string of shows before a release date performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Check out the full tour itinerary below:
Mar. 15: Austin, TX (Blackheart Bar)
Apr. 2: Philadelphia, PA (The Barbary)
Apr. 4: Boston, MA (Brighton Music Hall)
Apr. 5: New York, NY (The Westway)
Apr. 22: Los Angeles, CA (Troubadour)