It seems that Riff Raff can't be broken. The Houston born-and-bred rapper is the epitome of ADD-ready Tumblr rap; the man is a meme unto himself that seems to alternate between authenticity and erraticism. Now based in Hollywood, Riff Raff has taken on a British alter ego under the self-appointed moniker Jody Highroller -- as if the guy needed yet another personality to likely baffle his audiences.
Yet that couldn't be farther from the case. While Riff Raff tends to be written off as a novelty by those who feel that rap's last peak was with 50 Cent's Get Rich Or Die Tryin', Riff seems to be thumbing a nose on that blinged-out era. For those intimate with Riff Raff, recall his Icee pendant, his jack-'o-lantern chain, or the iced-out Wonder Woman. Listen to five of his tracks and count the absurd number of luxury automobile references. Is he making some meta-statement of rap's heyday that wasn't all that long ago?
We might never know. For a man that considers himself to be "Twitter's dad," in his own words, Riff rarely exposes his true notions or intent, preferring absurdity to clarity. It's this inadvertent mystique that charms his fans and alienate the uninformed.
Though Riff Raff is scrutinized for his fleeting seriousness, it can't be denied that he's taken an approach to content release that is in the same vein as Lil B, putting out material and accompanying videos at an astonishing rate. After signing a three million dollar deal with Diplo, for an undisclosed number of records, Riff's been dropping videos on an almost daily basis. "I have over one hundred songs that I will be slowly dropping," Riff said via email. Based on the seventeen original Youtube tracks that he's released over the past month alone, Riff looks like he's saturating the blogosphere and has no intent of slowing down. He's the prodigal son of the internet. Are we going to crack him? Probably not. In terms of market saturation, Riff is in a corner of his own, acting less as an artist for the sake of his art, and more for his own entertainment. Ask what role he plays in terms of his genre, a place where he bridges trap music with actual spitting ability, and he'll respond with "I am a reflection of 3 moons in the Sahara Desert at winter noon brunch."
When Riff Raff trolls, people buy into it. When he lays down bars on something like the woozy Action Bronson collaboration "Bird on a Wire," people listen. His ability to switch his talent on, however raw it may be, is just another part of his equation. "I just do whatever I want everyday and things will multiply in my favor for forever," he says.
And of the few truths that Riff Raff is willing to expose, this may be the truest of all. With his first Mad Decent release, the Birth of an Icon mixtape, Riff's potential is apparent, but his longevity isn't. It's yet to be determined as to how he can break into the rap realm in a way that doesn't cater to an Adderall-addicted niche. Riff Raff doesn't even seem to be fully sure himself. "I can't make everyone happy," he says. "I can barely keep myself happy."
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