RiFF RAFF's mere appearance goads you to dismiss him. He's a white rapper with cornrows, a grill, intricately designed facial hair and brand tattoos all over his torso and neck. He wants you to believe that he's a clown, and his music reinforces this. His lyrics take rap templates and push them to their logical extremes, so much so that some of them—"Might pull up in Milan in the drop candy swan"—barely register as reality. RiFF RAFF experiments recklessly and gleefully like a teenager with a lighter, and like a teenager he wants to be underestimated.
Eventually—unless you dismiss him out of hand, which isn't unreasonable—one must reckon with the talent of the man who calls himself "the White Gucci Mane with a spray tan." RiFF RAFF—who appeared on the MTV reality show From G's to Gents but who made a name for himself as a rapper starting about two years ago—can be irritating and his music is often bad, but a lesser rapper and personality would have drowned in the waves of internet ephemera long ago. But this one is magnetic and unique and divisive. He is a sideshow, but he's the type of sideshow that draws you in even against your will.
But not everything is perfectly orchestrated. NEON iCON, his new album, was supposed to be released this past January by Diplo's label Mad Decent. But bringing RiFF RAFF to market—making him a viable musician—has proven to be a bit more difficult than merely trolling for attention. He put out a single with rap producer du juor DJ Mustard, but it failed to reach a mainstream rap audience. Instead, it seems like Mad Decent has decided to throw everything at the wall to see what exactly sticks.
The resulting album puts his talent and personality on display, but it's also a disorienting listen, with Texas rap flows jutting up against pop-punk instrumentals and electro trifles. It's hard to tell if RiFF RAFF has figured his music out, or if he hasn't.
Now he is here to answer your questions for the next hour or so. But—fair warning—like everything he does, his answers may only be in service of throwing you off.
UPDATE: This chat is over. Thanks to Riff for stopping by, even if on rapper time. You can read his responses by scrolling below.