Riff_Raff_LEAD

Introducing ‘Rhyme nor Reason’ – a SONGLYRICS’ look at lyricists that make us want to jam a pencil in our brain. Or as a man named Shakespeare once wrote: ‘Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season/When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?’


Let’s say we were to shit-talk Chris Brown for obvious reasons. The token, logical rebuttal from any fan – aside from the disturbing Facebook trend ‘I’d let him hit me‘ – has to be ‘leave his personal life out of it, and focus on the music’. Debatable quality aside, that’s a legitimate response.

This reply doesn’t work with Riff Raff - he’s a 24/7 vortex of tabloid entertainment, a walking internet troll that feeds on all attention, love or hate. Unlike Brown, the world’s most infamous batterer, Horst Christian Simco, as his mother knows him, has completely inconsequential music.

That may sound like an insult, but it’s actually a fact for which he’s strangely received gushing praise from respected news outlets. He’s been hailed as the king of Vines, examined thoroughly for his pop-culture status, and chastised for being a racist, parodic minstrel show, co-opting decades of black hip-hop culture only to make a mockery of it.

In light of all this, we ask ourselves repeatedly – ‘Is he for real?’ – and keep circling around the following answers:

  • A.) Totally – those MTV and BET tattoos are fo lyfe, dawg. Fuck teh hataz.
  • B.) No way – he’s pulling a lifelong, Andy Kaufman-esque con, and I’m in on the joke. I just love him ironically because I’m meme-intellectual.
  • C.) It doesn’t matter.

Though we consistently neglect it, option C.) is the only suitable one. If we strip all of this context away and just, ‘focus on the music’, it’s the only explanation as to why drunk teenagers are getting down with this half-assed, generic materialism: [LISTEN]

"Dolce & Gabbana"

Option A.) thus becomes obsolete.

As for option B.), we already did the whole ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ performance-art thing with Die Antwoord. They stole the show opening for deadmau5 in 2010 and are on rotation in clubs with the original goal of satire, as a Colbert-esque rap group of comically out-of-touch Zef kids that could be laughed at on YouTube until the catchier jams become guilty pleasures, like “Enter the Ninja“‘s goofy hook “I, I, I/I am your butterfly/I need your protection/Be my samurai;” [LISTEN]. They even beat Riff Raff in to the ‘ridiculous tattoo‘ punch, although theirs were more creative than his whorish billboard approach. Their being outed as satirists hurt album sales, but even that couldn’t stop juggernaut meme PSY‘s send-up of South Korea’s Jersey Shore equivalent, which is still the most-watched video of all time.

Long story short, if Riff Raff is a method actor, PSY and Die Antwoord did it first, better, and with dances in tow; you probably even got down to their tracks at a club or party in 2012. Now we can’t stomach the phrase “Oppa Gangnam Style,” and Ylvis Fox” noises prove that Riff Raff’s not the only guy who’s “not afraid to be a clown.”

Speaking of that little comedy angle, if Riff Raff is a parody character, he’s actually a tame one, and just not that funny. After all, this is radio rap these days: [LISTEN]

Drake's "Furthest Thing"

Hell, Riff Raff lyrics are actually better than that. It begs for a web page dedicated to the game: Parody or real, name that lyric – Drake or Riff Raff. Enter conscious-clearing option C.); Riff Raff is just today’s Vanilla Ice, a brightly colored Scumbag Sean. He’s fun to look at, but will we remember Mr. Simco only ‘fucks with hoes who rock Dolce and Gabanna‘ or deals with jealous haters by  ’chopping ‘em up like shredded lettuce‘, in a couple years time?