neon icon: RiFF RaFF
We weren’t able to catch up with the enigmatic RiFF RaFF face to face. Instead, we fired some questions, via email, at Jody Highroller aka Kody Kardashian aka Versace Cowboy aka The Rap Game Patrick Ewing. (Horst Simco is the name his mama gave him.)
RiFF RaFF, Photography Zach Wolfe, The Creative Collaborators Issue, No. 328, Winter 13
We thought it best to let the tattoo-clad, braid bearing, Houston-born, LA-based lyricist express himself in his own words, because nothing else would quite do him justice. He's currently in the process of suing Harmony Korine and the makers of Spring Breakers for what he says is James Franco's unaccredited portrayal of his good self in the film, and having dropped numerous mixtapes, is releasing his debut album, Neon Icon, tomorrow on Diplo's Mad Decent records. Here is exactly what RiFF RaFF had to say, full stop free, random capslock and all, in his own words.
Name, age, where you're from and where you live now.
JODY "Emancipation Proclamation" HiGHROLLER.
Describe where you live in LA?
Mountains, electric, neon vibe, wonderville.
What are the differences between where you grew up in Houston and where you live in LA now?
More opened minded-ness, more fake tits.
Riff RaFF, you're awesome. Where does this awesomeness come from?
I like to sit in my room sometimes, and zone out and listen to music, and vibe out and do coke alone and try to remember when I was five or seven years old, so I think it comes from within... You can't train greatness, it's in the soul.
You have a lot of different allegiances with all types of people in hip hop, from Bronson to Chief Keef, to Andy Milonakis and Diplo. Who do you most enjoy working with, creatively and personally?
All those guys are superstars, I'm serious when I say these things, Diplo has yet to reach his potential, believe it or not, and Action's still not dropped an album yet, I mean the guy is gunna be in movies, I'm telling you, I promise! Chief Keef, I seriously think no one has ever blown up at such a young age, and yet to be coached, the dude is a young boss and is out to prove that he needs no help. It's a great thing to see these fresh new faces, they have such an impact in so many cultures and walks of life, Andy is one of the best friends I could have. Music and hip hop is changing, it's time for the world to be more accepting.
Why do you think so many people want to work with you?
BECUZ they know I'm the best thing to happen to music since the microphone was invented.
You and Action Bronson just announced a collaborative EP called Galaxy Gladiators. What do you propose that will sound like?
Like liquid rose gold stripper poles.
Why/ what/who is RiFF RaFF
I'm just me and I'm glad that I can be paid large amounts of money to be myself.
What does the title Neon Icon suggest about the album?
I'm uncopyable, you can't just make me, you have to be born with this neon determination. I have so much music! So many styles, I can't be put in a genre, I'm not a joke, The world only accepts what they understand and after I drop my album they will have a better understanding of me.
You have an insane line-up of guests from Drake to Skillex, A$AP to Lex Luger. What was your vision for the album?
To be the best and only Neon Icon ever.
Was there anyone you wanted on the album but couldn't get?
Too many to name, but it's my first album so when I drop album four, five, ten, then I will work with those legends trust me.
In the Dolce & Gabbana video, you have a RiFF RaFF Hollywood star. How long before you think you can make that happen in real life?
Give me five years.
We know about the James Franco hullabaloo, but what were your actual thoughts on Franco's portrayal of you/ combination of you and other people he says inspired him?
At this point all I can do is step up and fulfill my potential.
How much of RiFF RaFF is a construct and how much is the real deal?
A lot of these questions can be answered by my friends... I don't understand why magazines don't ask my friends these things... People have a problem with not being able to have fun so they can't believe that all I do is search for FUNZA my whole life but I would be lying if I said I wasn't.
You get a lot of loverz, but a lot of haterz too. What would you like to say to the haterz?
I hope you find happiness.
We can see, via your music, Twitter, Vine, videos etc. that your mind works at a 100 miles an hour. Do you ever switch off?
I live day for day depending on how I feel but it's 51% biz, 49% FUNZA gotta have FUNZA but gotta have money to get to the FUNZA…
What are your influences, both within and outside of rap?
Madonna, Toby Keith ultimate warrior mike Tyson.
Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I don't have any kids and I have never been married.
How many tats do you have now and what's the next one you're planning to get?
31 my tats are spar attic [sic] kinda gotta happen at once.
How many cars do you have?
3, my favourite is the Porsche Panamera. It's big and fast. I love it more than the lambo.
You're a fashionable dude, how would you describe your eccentric style?
I love new styles and dressing in the best most fresh clothes.
Here is where you can show off about yourself as much as you like…
I'm so anxious to drop the Neon Icon album so that people can see I'm a real artist, to start my career.
If you were to ask yourself a question what would it be and what would be the answer?What's your favorite colour?
Glow in the dark Bart Simpson.
If there's anything you want to add, please do.
I am about to be the rookie of 2014 and if you don't believe that then I feel sorry for your family and your ancestors.
RiFF RaFF's Guide To LA.
Where's the best place to…
Hangout in LA?
The mountains. I like to go up late at night alone and drink and cry sometimes to clean out my soul.
Get a tattoo?
See someone famous like Bette Midler?
Ralph's in Studio City.
Buy cool shit?
Do something that the average visitor to the city wouldn't know to do?
Climb a mountain.
Text Hattie Collins
Photography Zach Wolfe