Riff Raff first appeared on the rap scene in 2009 with The Texas Tornado and lines in the sand couldn’t be drawn fast enough.
He’s an oddball even by Texas standards, a cornrowed white boy of (at the time) mysterious origin who rapped largely in absurdist, pop culture non-sequiturs and had a tendency to pull stunts like dyeing his beloved Husky blue.
But that alone isn’t enough to justify the intense feelings that fans and haters alike have toward Jody Highroller. There’s plenty of bad/weird rappers out there who garner little more than a shrug from the masses. What is it about the NEON iCON that leads to so many #StrongTakes?
It’s simple, really. He’s a living brand, covered in logo tattoos that he seems to gain via osmosis and rapping largely about other established celebrity and luxury brands. His very existence is a commentary on celebrity in the post-Internet era. How you feel about Riff is how you feel about the direction that the culture as a whole is taking.
Thanks to this, where you fall on the Riff opinion spectrum can be determined by the way you define yourself (Hip-hop heads talk about Riff like this, while White People drive cars like this, or something).
Read on for our group by group breakdown of Riff opinions and decide where you fall.
Hip Hop Heads
(This is you if: You’ve ever said “Real Hip Hop” out loud and meant it)
Heads HATE Riff Raff. Full stop.
These are people who have dedicated their lives to the intense study and custodianship of the genre and the fact that someone like Riff can make it big in their backyard is infuriating to them.
Riff doesn’t have much in the way of discernible skills and at times seems to be actively mocking the very idea of rap as an art form. Though it’s doubtful this was Riff’s intent, “TiP TOE WiNG iN MY JAWWDiNZ” could easily be viewed as a piss take on Kanye West’s post-MBDTF phase.
(This is you if: You still won’t give Migos love, You have an arbitrary year when hip-hop “ended for you”)
Yet another group that hates Riff. But they hate everyone new who isn’t a white, college-educated, lyrically dense rapper who never learned the importance of a charismatic delivery
-looks Hoodie Allen dead in the windows to his soul-
Very few rappers pass muster with these snobs and poor Raff never stood a chance.
(This is you if: You’ve said the word “semiotics” out loud and meant it)
Art dweebs “get” Riff Raff on a level that us employed folks just don’t. They really understand what Riff is trying to say to that bitch who tried to tell him to be realistic, and it probably has something to do with the Duality of Man.
(This is you if: you tear up at the end of “Rudy”)
What we mean by “Cubs Fans” is people who root for the underdog. If you can’t help but place a friendly wager on someone on the bad end of a massive spread, if you hate dynasties and Yankee caps, then we’re talking about you.
“Cubs Fans” like Riff because the mere act of listening to one of his songs is rooting for the little guy. 9 times out of 10, he’s going to let you down but every once in a while he hit’s you with a line like “Don’t talk about my past-tense unless we goin’ campin'” and you get to be a hip-hop Al Michaels in your own head.
People Who Don’t Like Hip Hop
(This is you if: “I like everything, except country and rap.”)
Non-fans are the only group that features a definitive split.
Riff is essentially a non-rap fans caricature of the genre, all flash with very little substance and lyrics that wouldn’t exactly have MENSA beating down your door. How this group chooses to react to that info is what sets them apart.
On one side, you have people who have seen their own biases confirmed and use it to continue to write off the genre. “See, I told you that rap is crap,” etc.
Then, you have the ones who develop an ironic appreciation for Riff. They have stared into the abyss and it stared back with a Paul Wall grill. They have no choice but to turn up.
Writers like Riff Raff because he gives them the ability to type nearly 1,000-word dissections and #thinkpieces on a man who said “Ice on my fingas like I slap-boxed a penguin.”
Where do you fall and what do you think of the polarizing Jody High Roller? Let us know in the comments.
iF YOUR “FRiENDS” DONT LiKE RiFF RAFF THEN iTS TiME TO GET NEW FRiENDS BECUZ U HAVE HUMAN FRiENDS AND THOSE THiNGS ARE WORTHLESS— RiFF RAFF (@JODYHiGHROLLER) December 1, 2014