Celebrity: Straight Outta Morrisville

Rapper Asher Roth has been called the suburban Eminem — and worse. Dave and Beth Roth, his parents, just know he’s a good boy

They did get to Asher’s record release party in April, in New York. It was the first time they’d seen him perform as a major act. Beth worked her way up to the front, to the mosh pit, to get a look at her baby, the star. People were adoring him. He looked the same as ever, but different. “You could feel this emanation,” she says. “He’s still Asher. I look at him and he’s still Asher, but he becomes something other, that’s very transcendent.”

The day after the Bamboo Bar concert in Philly, Asher’s promoters had him fly to Los Angeles to perform the next night. On Sunday he caught Lakers-Rockets Game 7, then a red-eye home for a few days. Asher doesn’t have his own place, just the world and a bedroom in his parents’ house. He ate Mom’s food, got some financial advice from Dad, played Wiffle ball at Pennsbury.

“It’s kind of like a deep breath. Being around parents, who want nothing from you except just to smile and be there,” Asher told me. Asher’s publicists allowed him 20 minutes to talk for this story, just before he flew off to Toronto, Las Vegas and the rest of his future. He took the chance to clarify some history: He didn’t chicken out of that Little League rap with his dad — “It was more of the too-cool thing. At 12, 13, you think your friends are gonna laugh at you.”

He talked about how his parents let him grow and how he won’t disappoint them. Of course, they know it already. They know the hard part is in progress, as Asher stage-dives into fame and fortune and the mind-warping pressures that can accompany those dreams. Asher has said, “Mom, this isn’t real.” Beth Roth believes he won’t let the glamour seduce him. She’s not worried that his fondness for herb and alcohol will turn him into another young celeb with a problem. “I’m just really happy for him that he gets to experience a dream,” she says. “If it gets too scary … I trust he will wake himself up.”

Asher promised that “Moving forward, the music is gonna be much more thought-provoking.” He had to get himself an audience first. “The first album is about me just hanging out and burning some tree and chasing women,” he said. “You’ve gotta build the foundation. Maybe these kids have this incentive of going to school now, because they can have some fun, and rah-rah-rah. But now they’re gonna be able to grow up with me.”

Then, before leaving for the airport, Asher posted a message on Facebook and Twitter: “Is it a bad idea for me to ask who’s got good tree in Toronto?”

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