A.) Lyricism & Delivery
"Your whole squad garbage, I see why you lethargic / Swung through the Olive Garden, getting Egyptian massages."
Riff's musical inspirations are diverse, ranging from Little Dragon, Fleetwood Mack and Bon Jovi to Lil' Flip, the Geto Boys and Juvenile. He's an extremely visual lyricist who drops some of the most vivid and hilarious punchlines in the game. But as comical as he is, he also takes the craft seriously, carefully illustrating a trippy, cartoonish world. Whether you dig his flow or not, you have to respect the detail. There's a wealth of pop culture references in his catalogue, and when he freestyles, he actually does so off the top - no pre-written bullshit.
Here's his perspective: "I just like comedy, man, you know? I don't like horror movies and shit like that... I think different shit that you see during the day, or different things you go through in life put you in a certain mood, so I like comedy shit because it puts me in a good mood and makes me think better of things."
Word. Read two standout verses below, and peep evidence of the Freestyle Scientist at work on Sway in the Morning and Vlad TV:
Yo, we $80,000, shopping malls, but we ain't browsin'
Poppin', 'hood in Transco Towers
Prowler prowlin', Gucci towels and bathroom vials
Nouns, owls, Aston Martins
Sparkin' one in valet parkin', loan sharkin'
Hopin' that my days don’t get darkened
Cheetah skin outside the parka
Propaganda propels us - ostrich feathers
Security guards with 9 berettas, pullin' up in Volkswagen Jettas
Causin' storms in sunny weather
Hopin' that my days get better
-Bird on a Wire
You know me, I'm in the Congo - trappers in Toronto
Mention Montreal, but my car Murcielago
Call Murcielago, my favourite flavour mango
All this progression but it takes two to tango
Life is full of destruction, full of malfunctions
Try and talk down, end up in Gucci dumpster
Riff a living legend and my verses are classic
Labor I put in is enough to buy Alaska
Jody on your radar, should've been Julio Cesar
2013, guaranteed front page of The Fader
B.) Production Choices
TrapZillas ft. RiFF RAFF, Logic Ali & Trouble Andrew - Rainy Day
"All my songs are different… so whatever beat I feel like doing something on, if I feel a certain way for a certain song, then I do that, for that song."
Riff Raff's sound is extremely diverse due to the fleet of producers he works with. To date, he's worked closest with Diplo, Canadian producer Paul Duvro from Mad Decent, Derek Dja Allen and the TrapZillas, his personal tour DJs. He's also worked with Harry Fraud, The Alchemist, DJ Skee, Mike Jerz, Young Chop, Ryan Hemsworth, Dame Grease, B00RADLEY, SK The Hit Man, Jackson Vuiton, Caspa, Fat Pimp, Grizz Lee, Flux Pavilion, Uzi, Kid Ryan, Guru Beats, DJA, DJ Skee and TKO Capone, to name a few.
We can only assume Riff will be working with even bigger names in the future. Peep a video of him in the studio with Action Bronson and the Alchemist below:
C.) Networking & Collaborations
DJ Skee - R.I.P. Remix ft. RiFF Raff, Young Jeezy, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown & YG
Since becoming established, Riff has collaborated with Action Bronson (a close friend), Chief Keef, Meyhem Lauren, Himanshu (formerly of Das Racist), AG Da Coroner, Kitty Pryde, Lil' Debbie, DOLLABiLLGATES, Kid Sister, Daniel Dahmer, Millionaires and Laura Mikos. He's also one-third of the hip hop comedy troupe ¡Three Loco! with Dirt Nasty and Andy Milonakis.
"Bird on a Wire," a standout track with Action Bronson, was listed as the 27th best song of 2012 by Complex Music.
Peep several of Riff's collaborative visuals below:
D.) Catalogue / Work Ethic
Riff has released 14 mixtapes since 2009. They are, in chronological order: The Texas Tornado, Never Ending Saturday, Party McHardy, Rookie of The Future, The Freestyle Scientist, Hilton Swag Vol. 1, The Rap Game's Larry Bird, Sour & Gun Powder, Purple Haze & Hand Grenades (with Lean Team & DJ Joey D), Rap Game Bon Jovi, Stupid Fruity Crazy Swag, Summer of Surf, Birth of an Icon and Hologram Panda (with Dame Grease). Also, he recently released a free album called The Golden Alien and an eponymous ¡Three Loco! project with Andy Milonakis and Dirty Nasty.
This staggering body of work may explain Riff's eight-album contract with Mad Decent.
As for upcoming work, he has an alleged project with Harry Fraud called Neon Vibes that's stuck in development hell. He's working on an album with Diplo tentatively titled either Jody Highroller or Castle Around My Heart. He's also set to release a collaborative project with DOLLABiLLGATES and Jackson Vuiton called Jumpin' Out The Gym. Most importantly, there's his highly anticipated Mad Decent debut Neon Icon, which is scheduled to drop in June and is rumoured to feature Drake, Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Rocky, YG, Future and Snoop Dogg.
Enough said. Peep a preview of Jumping Out The Gym below, as well as a recent discussion Riff had with London's DJ Semtex about Neon Icon:
E.) Music Videos
Riff Raff started shooting videos in 2010 and hasn't stopped since (his YouTube channel has nearly 40 million views at this point). He always has a video crew with him and pretty much drops a new visual every week. The aesthetic varies depending on the people he's working with, which ranges from amateur videographers in his crew to established professionals such as music and fashion photographer Kenneth Cappello. With such dedication and drive so early in his journey, we can only imagine what Riff's videos will start to look like when he has a bigger budget to work with.
But we'll let the motion pictures speak for themselves:
F.) Live Show
Riff Raff shows are a party, plain and simple. Drugs and alcohol are always involved, and multiple women always end up on stage. Despite this, he holds his own and keeps crowds hyped, recently with the aid of friend, collaborator and part-time hype man DOLLABiLLGATES.
At this point, Riff's already toured extensively throughout North America and Europe. His shows are becoming notoriously hype, and as such he seems like a shoe-in for larger crowds. As mentioned in the introduction, he rocked the stage with Action Bronson and the Odd Future clique at Coachella this past weekend.
Peep evidence of Riff's live game below:
Riff Raff is a brand - he's created a resounding buzz and image that began on the Internet and has since spilled into the real world. His many tattoos take branding to a whole new level, and include logos for BET, the NBA, WorldStarHipHop, and MTV. As his career progresses, this ad space will become increasingly valuable (although he's not about to get a face tat). He's already collaborated with Neff headwear and the vehicle security company Viper, and we'll definitely be seeing bigger business ventures from him in the future.
Riff's 'World Star' is a perfect example of his investment in branding. Peep the video below, as well as commercials for Viper and his collaborative "LazerRiFF" tank and T-shirt series with the Neff:
Jody Highroller graduated from Versace Junior College. He has the style of a bird of paradise and a penchant for Brietlig watches, Gucci shoes, Versace glasses, Burberry pagers, Deion sandals and baby igloo diamonds. He used to get all his jewelry from Paul Wall and TV Johnny in Houston, but he's since moved on. Allow him to explain:
Also, Riff recently teamed up with Pharrell Williams' "i am Other" collective to guerilla curate Art Basel Miami, "the world's premier Modern and contemporary art show." Watch the footage for a better understanding of his sense of culture:
I.) Coverage / Following
"I'm an underground worldwide name."
Riff Raff has been acknowledged by all the major music publications, both mainstream and underground, and he's developed a large cult following over the past four years. He currently has nearly 440,000 followers on Twitter, as well as 34,000 likes on Facebook. And, as mentioned, his YouTube account has nearly 40 million views at this point. These numbers continue to grow.
Riff Raff delves in journalism himself, conducting guerilla interviews at the latest MTV Movie Awards and the Art Basel art show in Miami (as mentioned). Peep his appearance on Snoop Dogg's GGN YouTube news network below, as well as his interview with celebrated music journalist Nardwuar The Human Serviette:
"It's not very easy, I'll tell you that much. The days get gruelling, the times get harsh; the poetry gets more in depth."
2013 is looking promising for the Rap Game Ferris Bueller. Ideally, he'll be dropping his projects with Harry Fraud, Diplo, DOLLABiLLGATES and, most importantly, his star-studded Mad Decent debut Neon Icon, which drops in June. Also, there's a remix of Drake's "Started From The Bottom" on the way, and he and Kids/Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine may or may not be working on a Neon Icon book highlighting and analyzing his best tweets.
Whether you love, hate or misunderstand him, Jody Highroller is on the come-up.
Are you not entertained?
We'll leave you with a brief Fader interview from May 2012 that should help you better understand the man behind the music: