With Kid Cudi, 7 p.m. Friday, July 31, at House of Blues, 1204 Caroline, 888-402-5837 or www.hob.com/houston.
Being a privileged white guy from the Philly suburbs doesn't disqualify Asher Roth from legitimate hip-hop MC status — not being able to spin an interesting yarn does. The Scooter Braun-championed overnight sensation's debut, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, has little to say, other than that Roth occasionally likes rapping like a beat poet, he loves his family, he loves smoking weed and, oh yeah, he loves higher education. With its Weezer sample and anti-RA message, gargantuan hit "I Love College" is as frat-ready as anything this side of "Baby Got Back," and the album's concerns are decidedly upper-middle-class/ twentysomething white dude throughout. (One song, "Bad Day," is about how bad it sucks to have to sit next to a fat guy on a flight to your friend's wedding. Seriously.) Despite being surrounded by a credible cast of characters — Cee-Lo Green, Don Cannon, Busta Rhymes — Roth fails to say anything controversial or memorable. "As I Em" seeks to establish his own identity, but he need not worry about Eminem comparisons. Slim Shady's music gets people charged up, but Roth's repertoire will make them as drowsy as those blunts he's always talking about.
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