Perhaps the Third Time Will Be the Charm…
Houston born rapper Riff Raff went out into this world with one goal: to become famous. Whether or not he’s succeeded is debatable, but you’ve got to give him credit for trying. From being on MTV’s From G’s to Gents, rapping with Andy Milonakis and Simon Rex under the moniker Three Loco and attempting to sue the creators of the movie Spring Breakers for 10 million dollars, Riff Raff sure has been keeping his name in the headlines. On his sophomore album, NEON iCON, Riff Raff serves up 14 tracks of hip hop shenanigans.
“Kokayne” starts of the album sounding like a pop-punk/hip-hop hybrid. The song is as addictive as the chemical substance it glorifies. It’s tracks like this where Riff Raff shines rather than on songs like “Wetter than Tsunami” where his more traditional hip-hop ends up sounding like hyperbole. Another example of this is “Time.” Here Riff Raff trades in 808s for twangy guitars, letting his Texas roots shine with some straight up country rap. The concept has been done before and the combination usually fails miserably, but Riff Raff pulls it off quite well. “How to be the Man” is the exceptional number — no gimmicks or weak rhymes; just well rounded track. If more of the songs were of this caliber the album would have been phenomenal.
Riff Raff has gathered some big names to drop verses on numerous songs on NEON iCON, but still even Mac Miller or Childish Gambino couldn’t overshadow the mediocrity of the majority of the album. NEON iCON isn’t the best album of 2014 nor does it have that “ahead of it’s time” vibe to it, but somewhere someone will love this album. It might not be you but that’s okay. Just like cocaine, it’s not for everyone.