Since he's become famous—or as famous as he is—the words "Riff Raff" have become less the stage name of a white rapper who got famous off of a VH1 reality show, and more of a Rorschach Test that can help determine where the line between music, performance art, and trolling culture lies for anyone familiar with his work.
A dispatch from his concert last night in New York City over at Rolling Stone today, for example—and depending on who you are—is either:
(A) Totally enthralling,
(B) Kind of amusing, or
(C) Something that will make you roll your eyes so hard you may end up seeing your own brain for the first (and maybe only) time.
Case in point:
When performing during "Pop Another Pill," he drops down and pretends to launch a pharmaceutical high into the air only to catch it in his mouth. He then proudly drums up applause, as if it were an Olympian feat, this miming. As the song plays in the background, he asks, "What is today? Thursday? Friday? Tuesday? Is it Saturday? Is it no matter day?"
Not that one could reasonably/willingly go to a Riff Raff show expecting anything less than something resembling something like an amateur Cirque du Soleil with rap, but to that end, at least it sounds like he's not one to disappoint.
As far as those people willingly attending Riff Raff shows?
It's an incredibly diverse crowd, with a way higher average of girls and mixture of races than almost any other New York hip-hop show in recent memory. Two girls mention, without provocation, that they like the rapper "culturally, not musically." (This is the second show of his that they've seen.)
Again, take a moment to read that quote, see where it puts you into the above three categories, and then mark it on your Driver's License (which will help let the world know whether or not you should be allowed to be an organ donor). Which isn't to say the man can't make good music: He absolutely can, as Complex has noted (were forced to admit?) before. But whatever Riff Raff is, what you really need to know about him right now is: He is going nowhere anytime soon.
If anything, Spring Breakers—one of the most anticipated movies of 2013—in which James Franco basically plays Riff Raff (or moreover, the version of Riff Raff that probably exists in Riff Raff's head) will only make him larger, and more powerful.
And Riff Raff knows this:
Affecting a gentle air, the rapper continues: "I'm rap-game James Franco. Now, I ain't supposed to talk about it, but Spring Breakers 2 'bout to come out, too, and you know I gots to be in it! I gots to be in it!"
The reality of whether or not Spring Breakers 2 exists aside, the world's about to discover (after getting out of a movie that already looks like a cult-classic) that James Franco's character is actually based on a real human being, one who exists as pitch-perfect evidence of the old idiom that "reality is always stranger than fiction."
Fathers, hide your daughters. Rap critics, hide your think-pieces. Riff Raff will only grow stronger, and whether or not he's the Rap Game James Franco or the Rap Game Spalding Gray, he is coming for some kind of game, one in which we're all participants until we can look away and ignore with little discretion.
Which, for the time being, we can't.
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