It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! Riff Raff‘s Neon Icon has finally dropped, and it feels like opening presents on Christmas – if Christmas was postponed for over a year. The living reincarnated caricature of Vanilla Ice‘s album has some surprisingly solid, eclectic beats, with occasional lyrical gems delivered in a stream-of-consciousness, nonsensical style – like the struggling-yet-promising freestyles of someone with a great sense of humor. However, that all makes up a small portion – it’s mostly just awful, generic trap, Riff Raff doing the same shit we’ve already heard dozens of times.
Which, by the way, isn’t an exaggeration. By the numbers, Riff Raff’s album would probably break the scale for repetition, as the infamous Jody Highroller really beat his bag of tricks to death. On Neon Icon, Mr. Simco mentions brand names 37 times and random celebrities 34 times. After repeating his own pseudonyms 12 times, he calls himself the “rap game ____” (insert another random celebrity) four times, as well as the “white ____” (another four).
These numbers might be slightly low, as it’s hard to catch ‘em all. Both the “rap game” and “white” references come back-to-back in their songs – in “How to be the Man,” he’s both the white Eddie Murphy and white Danny Glover within the same verse. At a certain point, isn’t he just naming black people?
As for other quarter-assed name-dropping: [LISTEN]
Unfortunately, his delivery sounds either like a redneck doing a bad Snoop Dogg impersonation, or vice versa, undercutting any sincerity to be found there.
Ignore the foolish, meta-hipster argument that Riff Raff is an embodiment of cultural commentary, parodying both the white appropriation of black culture and the image-obsessed, ADHD-goldfish attention span world that is the internet music scene. Likewise the impulse to label him a walking billboard that knows how to play the internet fame game in between pathetic (alleged) sexual assaults.
The fact of the matter is that his complete non-sequiturs about “bi-curious mermaids” are funny, and entertainingly worthwhile. Plus, the first few beats follow suit. But that’s all just a bucket or two in a sea of shitty trap beats and boring pop culture references. To be fair, I was expecting only a drop.