We’ve watched with some amusement as Asher Roth’s air of commercial inevitability has had a few holes punched in it since the release of Asleep in the Bread Aisle, a record that ended up promising infinitely more than it could deliver. (Put another way: he made a bad album. This conversation would already be over if AITBA was Licensed to Ill.) Eskay, who actually basically likes Asher Roth (I think?), has stopped posting dude’s stuff in lieu of the “nappy headed hoes” nontroversy–which, before you scoff at the meaninglessness of this fact, actually prompted Asher’s manager, Scooter Braun, to call Eskay within hours of his post going up. And, as far as I can tell, AITBA isn’t really selling–not yet, anyway.
Meanwhile, Roth is out attempting to fulfill the destiny he was promised on shows like Jimmy Kimmel’s, where he appeared last night with his hypeman, who for the purposes of the moment we’ll call Keanu Reeves. If the interesting tension in Roth’s music is between something new–suburban kid raps his way about his life, the clothes in his hamper, the Ford Taurus he drives, etc.–and something old, meaning here a certain degree of classical fluency around a microphone, then having a square-jawed Dazed and Confused-inspired sidekick is the exact wrong mix of those elements. The dude waving a towel next to you is a rap staple; but turning your live concert experience into a scene from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure seems like the exact wrong way of going about showcasing whatever is interesting about Asher Roth as an artist. Which is so say there’s just something ineffably, irredeemably corny about these two guys in tandem, trading lines over a song that you’d really like to believe was a satire of the scene they seem to be passionately and without a trace of irony attempting to recreate. Photos like this one don’t help.