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Asher Roth majors in success with hit 'I Love College'
Asher Roth dropped out of college three years ago, but it has been his ticket to success as a rapper.
I Love College, his autobiographical ode to having good times while behaving badly, has made him a big man on campus and just about everywhere else.
With lyrics like "That party last night was awfully crazy, I wished we'd taped it ... Pass out at 3, wake up at 10, go out to eat, then do it again," he has a slew of fans toasting his sentiments.
The single from his just-released album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, has attracted more than 41 million plays on his MySpace page and sold more than 1.2 million downloads on iTunes since January. The album sold 65,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and landed at No. 5 on Billboard's album chart.
"It taps into the celebratory aspect of school, not to mention the subculture," says Roth, 23, who grew up in Morrisville, Pa. "Whether you're 8 years old and you want to go to college, or you're 58 years old and went to college, you can relate."
Roth, who started writing and recording rhymes in high school, attended West Chester University of Pennsylvania, majoring in elementary education. Roth grew up listening to Jay-Z, Outkast, the Notorious B.I.G., Mos Def and The Roots.
"When your friends like it, you like it," he says. "It was edgy and different."
In 2006, he posted a few songs on MySpace and friended promoter Scooter Braun. Braun, now Roth's manager, brought him to Atlanta to pursue a hip-hop career, and he was eventually signed to a joint venture between Braun's Schoolboy Music and Steve Rifkind's SRC/Universal Records.
He started building buzz last summer with his mixtape The Greenhouse Effect with DJ Drama and Don Cannon, which he gave away on his website, thedailykush.com. A summer tour with Kid Cudi is in the works.
He doesn't regret abandoning his goal to be an educator. "I've always been enamored with language and words and having fun with them. Instead of teaching 25 kids in a classroom, you're doing it on a broader scale."
Roth says inevitable questions about following in Eminem's footsteps will fade, though he acknowledges that he's a fan. On As I Em, he shrugs off the idea that he's imitating him, " 'cause we have the same complexion and similar voice inflections."
"It doesn't bother me, but it's a lazy comparison," Roth says. "The album reveals how different we are as people."
He concedes he'll have to work to live down College's huge popularity.
"People get fixated, but there is much more going on. The music is there."