Born on January 29, 1982, Horst Simco grew up in Houston, Texas as one of four siblings in a suburb of Houston. Horst being of German/Jewish descent navigated life as the extravagant, hyper and flashy white boy in a world dominated by hip-hop culture, basketball and screw music to become one of the most imaginative characters in rap today.
“Rap game Uncle Ben pulling rice out the oven”
Now, everyone has heard of RiFF RAFF in one way or another. Whether it’s from his first tv appearance on MTV’s “G’s to Gents” or the multitude of vines he has posted and gained a following from, its is very clear the amount of individuality and comic aptitude that Riff possesses.
“Used to move ounces through my counselor's office, 8 ball in my back pocket-- but I do not play pool”
I personally grew to be a fan of RiFF RAFF from his freestyles in which he showcases his quick wit, Versace-laced references to everything (including lettuce), and his ability to laugh at himself and use his own persona as a comedic device. The key to understanding and enjoying RiFF RAFF as an artist is to not take him too seriously because obviously he doesn’t take himself too seriously either. In interviews RiFF RAFF avoids speaking on his upbringing and past, with some sources saying he grew up in the suburbs and himself claiming to have grew up in Acre Homes where friends claim he got his style and swagger from. Even through controversy and ridicule from people who think RiFF RAFF is a front and appropriating black culture he still stays true to his zany persona and buckles down on haters by creating even more lavish living alter-ego’s like Jody Highroller and Sharky Mcstevenson the master car dealer. This ability to absorb himself in his own codeine crazed world of character enables him to come up with the iciest rap lines since Pimp C and Dipset. In terms of conscious lyricism RiFF may be lacking, but no one is saying he has to be conscious or serious or even make sense in all of his music seeing as though the appeal comes from how deviant he is from those norms in Rap. While Cam’ron might be driving himself to the hospital in his pink Lambo, RiFF RAFF is:
“From California, but I done moved to Texas; my bad, I’m dyslexic in a four door mango Lexus”.
His ability to use assorted fruits and jewels and miscellaneous items to describe different things is his most entertaining quality in my opinion. Instead of describing his lean as ‘pink’ or ‘muddy’, he creates the adjective ‘Pink Panther’ akin to other terms like ‘aquaberry’(Blue/Sapphire) or ‘candy pumpkin’(orange). His favorite adjective to use to describe luxury items is ‘Versace’, which has become a common theme in all his music:
“Now I’m Julius Caesar in the Versace wife beater,”
“My feet need to meet the beach in East Greece
My body needs to sleep beneath Versace sheets,”
“Versace salad on the side of the saddle,”
Among his many complex layers of creativity that make up the man we call RiFF RAFF, the only thing you will find more than Versace references is his astounding arsenal of ‘Rap Game’ references. Frequently during his freestyles RiFF will compare himself to any pop culture figure to describe how important and enigmatic he is. Some of them make sense as they may pertain to an athletes success but others like the Rap Game Alfalfa, Samuel L. Jackson, Barbie, Martha Stewart, Huckleberry Finn, and Zack Morris are large boasts in their own way.
“Macaroon moon diamonds got me feelin’ bipolar two sided reminder, man them ain't diamonds you rockin’ rhinestones cuz”
Ever since the early to mid 2000’s freestyling in his car, RiFF has never strayed away from the formula and charisma that got him to where he is today. RiFF can put on several layers of many characters, act as outlandish and flamboyant as he wants, make himself seem like a made-up parody of many things all the while being himself and never losing himself in the mix. Nowhere in entertainment can you find such a person so secure with themselves that they can manipulate the cultural insecurities and stereotypes associated with them and make it a part of themselves to their advantage and create a banter with the audience that understands the art. ✉