08 Jul Brightside Review: RIFF RAFF’s ‘Neon Icon’
[dropcap size=small]S[/dropcap]ome marked June 24, 2014 as the apocalypse of hip-hop while others reveled in the glory of a man who cannot be taken seriously upon first glance. Depending on how you view the internet sensation known as Riff Raff, his debut album, Neon Icon, posed a very daunting question of whether or not we could actually enjoy it. Horst Christian Simco also known as Riff Raff, Jody Highroller, The Versace God, Jody 3 Moons, The Neon Icon, Iceberg Simpson, and many many more self-titled nicknames, released his debut album Neon Icon through Diplo‘s label Mad Decent and it has sparked quite a bit of controversy/support from all ends of the spectrum. The internet sensation has continued to build hype around the fact that he represents just about everything that is wrong in this world, but the bottom line is you have to respect the guy for owning it. Truthfully, I could not stand Mr. Highroller for the longest time, but it was only a matter of time until I was a full-fledged cult follower. So, as an avid fan of quality music, but also a fan of his persona, I dove into Neon Icon with a completely neutral and curious mindset.
“I’m the white Gucci Mane with a spray tan!”
If you knew nothing of Riff Raff or Neon Icon leading up to it’s release, we would have no hesitation accepting it as the next big album of 2014. Hitting #1 on iTunes during presale, recruiting Diplo as the major producer, and boasting a list of features including: Mac Miller, Childish Gambino, Slim Thug, and Paul Wall (to name a few), I was beginning to believe in Neon Icon‘s hype. It honestly looked like Riff Raff had taken this a bit more seriously then expected and there was a shimmer of hope behind all the hype from the artist that some would consider to be the most interesting man in the music industry.
“Now I’m Julius Caesar in the Versace wife beater!”
I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t an enjoyable listen. Both Riff Raff and producer Diplo did a stellar job at presenting a very diverse array of sounds. He kicks things off with “Introducing the Icon” and it’s arguably the best track on the album. Quick to follow up with “Kokayne,” it sounds like it was recorded on heavy amounts of the fine white powder. It was at this point you start realizing what the album is shaping up to be exactly what you’d expect from the Versace god. Jody Highroller continues to unveil who he’s the “white version” of on just about every song until we are greeted with “Lava Glaciers” featuring an artist that everyone felt did not belong on this album – Childish Gambino and it’s more of a mellow/atmospheric track that Gambino shines on. However, a feature that makes absolute sense due to his recent loss of sanity comes in the form of “Aquaberry Dolphin” with rapper/producer of the track – Mac Miller. This song is great to laugh at, but regardless it’s trash (See for yourself).
“It’s Pierce Brosnan, cross you up like Allen Ivey (what?)
It’s Allen Iverson, Versace rim with lemon tint
The lime Benz candy coated with the applesauce (sauce!)
The apple gloss, I’m on a beach, David Hasselhoff (what?)
Hassle me I’m Tim McGraw, I don’t pass the ball (no)”
-Riff Raff – Aquaberry Dolphin
From a music snob’s perspective, it goes without saying that Neon Icon, Riff Raff, and his lyrical prowess are some of the worst representations of hip-hop we have seen in a while. Although he is the self-proclaimed greatest freestyler in the world, the Texas rapper makes absolutely no sense in his lyrics, his sloppy delivery, and uncanny ability to stay off-beat. Supporters argue that he is paving the way for new styles of hip-hop, while realists see the album for what it is: trashy southern hype.
Therefore, I am giving a 2-part review of Neon Icon:
From a critique standpoint, Riff Raff and his debut studio album have joke written all over it. It is a god awful representation of quality music
All bullshit aside, I legitimately enjoyed listening to this album. I will probably receive backlash for saying this, but I enjoyed Neon Icon from the perspective that Riff Raff had intended it to be enjoyed. It’s a collection of diverse tracks, production, and features that garnered enough hype and following to be considered “cool” by thousands of listeners. Does that mean I consider it to be a quality album? No. Is Riff Raff a talented rapper? Fuck no. Do I still love and respect this Versace God? Absolutely. LONG LIVE JODY HIGHROLLER AND JODY HUSKY!
Introducing the Icon
Lava Glaciers (ft. Childish Gambino)
How to be the Man
Cool It Down (ft. Amber Coffman)
Jody 3 Moons (Skit)