Was This Review Helpful to You: RiFF RAFF's 'Neon Icon'
    • FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2014

    • Posted by: Matt Howard

    For three years ironic music fans have been chafing at the bit to hear the debut full-length release from Houston rapper Horst Christian Simco... or as we've all come to recognize him, RiFF RAFF. The fluorescent rhymesmith built himself a cult-following of name-dropping fans who've been including his mixes on playlists as pretentious party conversation starters, much like they had with the work of 90s absurdist icon Wesley Willis and other predecessors. But unlike Willis, whose allure came as an exploitation of a mental disorder, RiFF RAFF's is inspired by his excessive branding of himself as the king of white trash gangster rap.

    Although it's uncertain how serious RiFF RAFF actually takes himself, his "fans" brandish their 'you-just-don't-get-it' badges proudly. The rapper's debut album, Neon Icon, was released earlier this week, and it's currently clocked in an average rating of 6.4 (out of 10) by review aggregator Metacritic. Pitchfork, who has followed the artist's every meticulous step, clocked Neon Icon with a 5.4 — which may seem low, but that's a pretty solid score from that cavalier crew. They gave a similar and a much more musically talented camp artist named Andrew W.K. a 0.6 for his infamous debut I Get Wet.

    So it's cool to be "kinda into" RiFF RAFF these days. If he comes to town, you'll go see him, but only if tickets prices are of comparable value to the Instagram street cred; you'll download Neon Icon, illegally of course; but you wouldn't want the cornrowed creep to play your wedding — however, any right-minded individual would kill for W.K. to bring the party to their reception.

    I admit that I gave Neon Icon a fair chance. I made it up until the 15-track album's seventh song entitled "Tip Toe Wing In My Jawwdinz" — which was right about the time I typed the words "Andrew W.K.", then caved, switched gears, and my mini headphone party began. The verdict: Listening to RiFF RAFF is what I imagine a text message conversation between 13-year-old boys is like — they can't spell, they get tons of pussy, and they collect designer sneakers.

    But if you're not one to trust the ignorant reviews of paid writers, perhaps a little insight from RiFF RAFF's fanbase will paint a clearer portrait of the nonsense that is Neon Icon. I culled through the recent user reviews of his record on Amazon to find a few five-stars...

    For having such low expectations, Mr. Ma gave RiFF an astounding Versace out of 5 rating...



    This guy should get a part-time gig writing inspirational copy for AND1 graphic t-shirts...



    Agreed...



    Chocomom with the sweet metaphor...



    The type of guy who would argue that season two of The Wire was best...




    Listen to Neon Icon below, if you dare...

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