It seems like its been years since MC’s hooked up with one producer exclusively for their LP. Artists like DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Guru & Premier, and Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth joined together, creating some of the best albums in hip-hop ever. But lately we’ve seen the trend reinvigorate itself, with team-ups like David Banner & 9th Wonder, Statik Selektah & Termanology, and Freeway & Jake One. Since Asher Roth arrived on the scene he’s worked on and off with Nottz, a producer who might just be one of the most underrated in the game. Having a resume that shows production for each Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Drake, and M.O.P., his rep speaks for itself, so if he’s producing for Asher, we’re listening.
“Don’tcha Wanna Be? (My Neighbor)” kicks off the album with some light and tight spacey synths with a Mr. Rogers Neighborhood sample, as Asher Roth and Nottz give their origin stories. “Gotta Get Up” features Asher Roth recalling his familiar party tales over a Harry Nilsson sample.
It goes to say that if some of these tracks had come out when the chipmunk-soul Kanye production was big, many of these might have been huge hits. “Coming & Goin’” featuring Rhymefest is easily the stand out track on the album, as Nottz lets loose in a way that suggests he should have picked up the mic a long time ago. Rhymefest – the album’s only guest – makes the feature on “Comin’ and Goin” worth his while, proving he’s as solid as anyone out right now. “Enforce the Law” is another sonic standout. Nottz manages to incorporate sounds that at first sound like some big budget track, before it recedes back into the solid underground sound he’s known for.
From a production standpoint, this album delivers on every level, but on the rhyming front, Asher seems to be it’s weakest link. He holds his own on this EP, but Nottz manages to out-MC Roth on a good portion of the album. The Eminem comparisons are irrelevant at this stage in the game, but aside from that, he just never seems to have the passion or even voracious appetite on the mic, even when he’s got some of the best beats in the game to fall back on. Nevertheless, Rawth is still a pretty solid EP, and a step in the right direction for one emcee / one producer collaborations.
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