Riff Raff: An Interview on "Saints Row IV", SNES Versus Genesis, Pro Wrestling, and his Career Prospects in the 1950s

Riff Raff: An Interview on "Saints Row IV", SNES Versus Genesis, Pro Wrestling, and his Career Prospects in the 1950s

On July 3, Riff Raff’s always worthwhile Twitter account shared a special message with the world: “iM THE RADiO STATiON DJ ON THE NEW ViDEO GAME SAiNTS ROW 4 SO MAKE SURE TO PERMANENTLY BORROW THE ViDEO GAME AFTER YOUR RiCH FRiEND BUYS iT.”

As we later confirmed, this announcement was indeed accurate. The Rap Game Christian Laettner/Janet Jackson/Peppermint Patty/Stacey Augmon is the voice behind the game's Mad Decent 106.9 station. Music-wise, Riff shows up on several of the station’s tracks, too, what with a solo joint (“Rookie on the Year”), an appearance on a song from his group Three Loco (“Beer”), and feature spots on Liz's “Underdog” and Toadally Krossed Out's “Cray.”

With Saints Row IV dropping today, we figured it was high time to hear what Jody Highroller himself has to say about video games. Seeing as this is a man who recently reminisced about some relatively obscure Super Mario Bros. 3 info, he’s gotta know his shit, so we tried to get the recently arrested, Vine-loving MC to open up with his thoughts on Saints Row IV and a few other video-game- and tech-related issues. Along the way, we also happened to learn about the crucial difference between Bobby Blue Shoes and Timmy O’Tool.

How did you get the spot to represent Mad Decent on Saints Row IV? Did Diplo or someone else at Mad Decent say, 'Hey, Riff Raff's our guy' or did somebody from the Saints Row team come over to you?

Uhhh, honestly, Diplo would probably know better than [I], but yeah, they... [Mumbles and trails off]. So I'm just glad to be, you know, [part of it]. I mean, of course, it's either me or Diplo as the face of Mad Decent. Me being a DJ, I mean, that's normal to me. [Being] a talk show host, I can do pretty much all that shit. The fact that I'm on there and I'm the radio person on the game, I feel like they go hand-in-hand. It's simple.

What did you do while working on the game? Did you just go into a booth and record dialogue or did they come to you with any feedback for what you are supposed to do for the station? Did they write the scripts for you?

A little bit of both. They made me say a few things and they let me freestyle.

Hey, if a label had came to me and picked me up in the '50s and they had put money behind me, then you would be seeing what you're seeing today—[just] seeing it back in the day.

Did you play the previous Saints Row games at all?

I randomly played 'em. I used to play video games and all that, but I don't really play video games that much. I've been really focusing on doing other shit. I barely have time to even be back in town and do anything. I've been flying here and there and doing all this other stuff, so I haven't been playing 'em that much.

On “Larry Bird,” you have a line that references M. Bison. (“'Saces keep me cold, slide like M. Bison.”) You've got to know something about video games to know about M. Bison. What other games were you into when you were younger?

NBA Live, like Sega games. I don't know. But I [also] played Nintendo. Damn, I forget. Contra.

Did you have a favorite Contra? It had games out on the original Nintendo and Super Nintendo.

All them games.

Now there’s always been a debate about which of the 16-bit consoles—Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis—is superior. Which did you like better?

Probably Sega.

Let’s talk about pro wrestling for a second. You have a couple of connections to wrestling out there. Christopher Daniels, a wrestler for TNA Wrestling, is the DJ for the 89 GenX radio station on Saints Row IV, and Action Bronson—your frequent collaborator—has tons of wrestling references in his music. Were you ever a wrestling fan?

I love wrestling.

Who were your favorite wrestlers?

I liked a lot of the wrestlers. I don't watch wrestling right now, [but] Legion of Doom [and] Ultimate Warrior.
 
On the music and technology front, you have so many videos out. You had 90 videos out in 2012. So much of your work is based on spreading songs and videos easily through the Internet. Imagine you had been born earlier than you were and you were coming up in 1990 instead of nowadays. How do you think your career would have turned out pre-Internet age?

Here's what people don't understand: Back in the day, people were hand-selected. Let's say there's Bobby Blue Shoes and Timmy O'Tool. Now, Timmy O'Tool is way better: He can act, he can rap, he can do everything. But Bobby Blue Shoes just got picked up by [a big label] and they put millions of dollars behind him and pushed him out. Whoever's on TV, that's who's famous back in the day. Now, people have a choice, and it's probably twice as much population. This day and age is the most competitive time in history. It was competition to get in the door back in the day. Somehow, you had to know somebody or something like that. The people who were superstars had been hand-selected.

Less of a talent pool?

Artists are working their ass off these days. It's not no ‘Make an album and drop two videos in a year and your label is putting millions of dollars into your videos.’ Nah. These artists out today are the hardest-working artists, you know what I mean? You've got artists dropping two, three, four mixtapes in a year, dropping 20, 30, 40 tracks a mixtape; 80 songs and going on tours back-to-back.

[With] today's artists, people always mention 'back in the day.' 'Oh well, back in the day, they would have did this. Back in the day, they would have did that.' Hey, back in the day, [people of those periods] might not be able to make it [with] how strong people working these days, you know what I mean? It's like LeBron James. People want to talk about him. If he was playing in the league back in the '70s, he might be scoring damn 70 points a game!

These artists, these entertainers, these athletes—we have turned into machines. Machines! No sleeping, all work. You've got people doing steroids, doing all that. People have turned into machines. For people to talk about 'Oh well, the Internet this, the Internet that.' The Internet gives the public a chance to see what the real deal is! There ain't no hiding. You can't hide these days.

[Nowadays,] you could damn not have a song on the radio. Next thing you know, you blow up 10 years later. There's no rules, man. So if I was back in the day and I had been picked up by a Sony, oh, I would have blew up 20 years ago! That's what the truth is.

Hey, if a label had came to me and picked me up in the '50s and they had put money behind me, then you would be seeing what you're seeing today—[just] seeing it back in the day.

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