The Appetiser makes a clear point. So Solid wasn't a failure. It was a warning. It kicked off a generation of talented youth street siblings. It proved the possibilities. Crossed the boundaries. And taught everyone on both sides a lesson. This time Asher arrives with a new warning.
Although the media and government label the working class youths as hopeless disasters from birth. Although they do their best to lay the blame upon hip hop. They can barricade, discriminate and hate on us as much as they like. But the fact it – we are the fighter generation. And we're only getting stronger. In Asher's words – 'The new generation's got a chip on their shoulder but they don't know why they're vexed'.
If anybody can lead the masses, provide solutions to our daily struggles, and banish the metal masquerade. It's us. And by us, I mean you, me and Mr Walters. Not a preacher. Not a dictator. A regular, down to earth lad. But with experience, education an ability to strive for nothing but the best which means that he has given 'regular' a whole new class.
The Appestiser defines this planned transition. From corner boy, to father, producer company co-owner, artist, actor…
The powerfully gut deep single – Inside Out – follows this schema; 'we are street stars, whatever way you're looking in. You can see how much work we've been putting in'. This track forces anyone and everyone to admit that whether or not they can relate to him, they can't possibly disrespect his drive and focus.
Another standout track – Generations shows how Asher isn't the first rapper to bring his kids onto a track. But he is the first not to let the rest of the track fall apart due to divided attention.
The straight to the point lyrics ('Mr Brown I need a word Sit – you're policies don't mean shit'), and the somewhat mellower melodies, perfectly combined with some seriously buck beats, provide a much more mature sound. The slightly confused experimentation with drum licks we saw in 'In Memory Of A Street Fighter' has been transformed into an undeniably fresh and fitting use of percussion on tracks such as 'My Own Money' – featuring the stunning lyrics of Laura Mason. And 'Had Enough' featuring the ear pricking Elrae. An example that should be noted by any hip hop producer currently throwing together a careless insult to the worldwide phenomenon we call a drum.
And beats aren't the only area where he is stepping out of the box. With obvious influences including grime, rock, dub and reggae; this mixtape will appeal to a wider audience than any of his previous releases. Admittedly, several tracks need a full listen for these influences to really work. Skipping through the first ten second seconds of every song may just leave you confused and wary. Mind you, if that's your approach, you hardly deserve what the full mixtape will grant you.
But there aren't many bboy worth tracks. Old school, funky, jungle hip hop is one influence Ahser doesn't really seem to take a great deal of notice of. Fair enough, it's what you are up with, what you enjoy and relate to yourself; that affects your own work. But there are a couple of almost hidden, horribly mainstream gangster pop, vulnerable teenage moments that shortly find me gritting my teeth and growling under my breath.
It's mint that is he getting further out there – covering new ground and getting his message, his warning, to the masses. But expect to share the crowd with some twatass raa kids who don't fully get where he is coming from and what the music is all about.
I'm mother sticking terrified that he might follow in the footsteps of ol' fiddy, and forget hip hop and what it means as his hits build up. Resulting in a further misrepresentation of the hipidee hop to the world. But for now, Asher is staying honest, real and pure street.
Whether you are inside, or out. The Appetiser is a serious mixtape must have. Asher D has raised the bar for himself. And then he's done a triple back flip three metres over the top of it.