What if Eminem pursued a degree in elementary education, popped his collar, and liked his parents? Though comparing an on-the-rise Caucasian rapper to the real Slim Shady may seem hopelessly facile, Asher Roth the boyish 23-year-old behind the surprise top 10 iTunes hit ''I Love College'' does initially come off like a junior-varsity Marshall Mathers, eerily echoing the 36-year-old superstar's nasal delivery and back-of-the-classroom cockiness.
On this debut album Asleep in the Bread Aisle, Roth fully acknowledges the white elephant in the room with the song ''As I Em,'' intoning, ''Because we have the same complexion and similar voice inflection/It's easy to see the pieces and to reach for that connection...not much that I can say except I'm sick of it.'' In that case, he's going to be feeling ill for a good while. But if critics and mainstream hip-hop fans can find room in the game for more than one melanin-deficient MC, Roth might surprise them. ''College,'' his loping ode to women, weed, and one-dollar pizza slices, provides an irresistible dose of lowbrow higher-education hedonism. And though he makes good use of street-accredited guests like Cee-Lo (the soul-slicked ''Be by Myself'') and Jazze Pha (syncopated goof ''Bad Day''), Roth never floats sham tales of suburban hardship here. Instead, he just wants to have a good time and for the most part, he provides one as well. B
Download This: Listen to the song ''I Love College'' on imeem.com