Asher Roth on growing up, being fearless with "RetroHash"

Asher Roth, 2014. Brock Fetch

It's been five years since Asher Roth burst on the scene with his critically-acclaimed debut "Asleep in the Bread Aisle" and the single "I Love College."

Since then, Roth, 28, has experienced plenty of changes and life experiences, many of which can be heard on his new album, "RetroHash," which he's self-releasing on Tuesday. Though if you ask Roth, he more likely considers himself "self-sufficient" -- he's putting out this sophomore studio release with help from various people and collaborators in the business.

The new album is about getting back to the stuff he believes in, Roth says.

"On this album, you won't find compromises at all," the Philadelphia native told CBS News. "It's very genuine to who I am and a very real expression of self, which I think is really important at this point in my career if I want to be here for a while."

Check out what else Roth has to say about "RetroHash," life and hip-hop music:

On his move to Los Angeles: "I saw a lot of success really early on and things happened so fast that I was very easily getting distracted. I was able to move out of New York and get to L.A. where things slowed down for better or worse...But that pace in Los Angeles where I'm at now is good for me...It's allowed me to grow up without having the pressures and expectations of other people. Just allowed me to grow and be comfortable in my own skin."

On authenticity and success: "It all happened so fast. I don't look at myself as someone who was created by the music labels. There wasn't ridiculous amounts of money put into me or years of artist development. We just happened to put out a record on MySpace that became extremely relatable -- that was able to make the rounds. Next thing you know, being a white kid in hip-hop it becomes sort of a commodity where people are looking at you. You have all of these opportunities, if you will. It was one of those things. It just kind of happened."

On changes in personal life: "My friends were on tour with me. The more interesting thing in my personal life was how that early success was impacting the relationships in my life -- not being able to be in a relationship with my girlfriend, or the expectations that my friends now had -- coming on tour with me...I think actually you see that a lot in hip-hop with the word entourage. We end up rolling four or five friends deep with friends from home. And it's kind of a comfort-level thing....and with it happening so fast -- at still a relatively young age -- 21, 22 years old -- I wanted people I was familiar with around...It was good to have people around at that age. Now it's about being an adult. I'm OK with venturing out on my own. I'm much more comfortable with having these experiences by myself."

On "RetroHash": "I don't want the fun element to be missing from the person I am. But that's not the only side of me. If I'm here in the entertainment business and I want to be here for a while and I'm expressing myself through music, I want to do it honestly. And I think honesty and integrity have always been something that's very important to me...I want people to know who I am. If anything, I want it to be a general introduction to who I am as a person on this album."

On approach to new album: "I'm trying new things, being fearless -- that comes with experience. Where I'm at now I'm not worried about pleasing somebody else -- kind of just making stuff that I'm happy with, that I'm comfortable getting up on stage with and if it hits, performing for the rest of my life. The commitment that I had to make 'I Love College' -- where I performed that every night. We still perform that to this day because it was so real. But when I got to trying to recreate that magic that wasn't what we were trying to do. 'RetroHash' as a whole is just these moments. We wrote a lot of this record in the living room, just hanging out, conversations that we were having, lots of walks to go get food. The conversations from the walks and coming back and putting them in song-form. So [it's] very real and about current times. It's not like these are recordings are from five years ago...I'm really happy to be putting out something so fresh."

On writing the song "Tangerine Girl": "We walked and got some tacos and we came back and were in the studio. I went up to the microphone...put down a melody - didn't know if we were going to play it over with keys or what. It was just this melody I had in my head...And J.P. -- one member of the Blended Babies -- just played that bass right over it...And the table was set. For me, at that time, I had just met my current girlfriend. That's kind of where the lyrical context comes from. I met her Monday and I was thinking about her all week...Kind of talking to myself more or less, almost like a journal entry. And it turned out to be a kind of a funky, classic rock, disco-era record -- I think that's a lot of fun...it fits perfectly with what we're doing with 'RetroHash,' which is a progressive, fresh record with a lot of ode to our influences in music: classic rock, jazz, Blues and hip-hop."

On being a "white kid in hip-hop": "Music is almost becoming genreless. You're seeing a lot of people collaborate whether it be rock or jazz. EDM is also starting to creep its way into hip-hop as well...That's what I'm excited about -- that there's no genre and that we're starting to look past color, especially in hip-hop. Hip-hop is a very young genre of music. It hasn't been around that long at all. It's a no-brainer. You can trace it back, it's a black culture. So it's always tough for white kids to come in and be a part of hip-hop and contribute to the culture. It takes some warming up to and I completely understand that. But I think as this album comes out and some of my previous work, it shows it's genuine. I'm definitely a white kid who's been influenced by hip-hop culture...Hip-hop is kind of rooted in the fun and educational side of things, regardless of color."

On what's next: "A lot of time on the road. It's a work record...So I look forward to traveling the world, playing music live, meeting new people and having those experiences and of course following it up with more music."


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