It’s been five years since Asher Roth declared how much ‘he loves college‘ parties, and while suburban rapping about beer drinking and weed smoking with other 18-22-year-olds effectively breaks up your Dave Matthews Band mix, eventually he had to put out something with a bit more substance. For the anagrammatic RetroHash, Roth had no major label breathing down his neck with release deadlines or viral hit expectations. This freedom resulted in a mixtape of sorts that sometimes hits its mark, but elsewhere is scattered – even within single tracks.
The one theme that does persist though is said freedom. Roth has said on record that he “just wants to make music with his friends” with no meddling suits involved. Not only does it show on the album, but he references this mentality frequently. There’s also some post-college infatuation (“Tangerine Girl“), relationship issues (“Something for Nothing“), a token socially-conscious track (“Fast Life“), and bro-y nostalgia for those pre-bills days of wine and roses (“Parties at the Disco“).
His flow is vastly improved here compared to his first album. Still, the main issue is when he’ll veer into several incompatible directions lyrically within one song, as he does on “Parties at the Disco.” Also, as he ages past the college scene, he’s deemed himself to be worthy of post-university party personalities The “Dude” Lebowski and Blake from Workaholics, with plenty of references to each. But, the Jack Johnson-cum-311 guitar-based beats of some tracks don’t reflect this self-proclaimed progression, even if his improved lyricism can back it up.
Basically, it’s exactly what a sophomore album should be. It’s pleasantly surprising, considering his frat-meme rep, but it’s still confused and unsure of itself – just as he confesses himself to be multiple times throughout: