Riff Raff (rapper)

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Riff Raff
Riff Raff.jpg
Riff Raff performing in December 2011
Background information
Birth name Horst Christian Simco
Also known as Jody Highroller, MTV RiFF RaFF, RiFF RaFF SODMG
Born (1982-01-29) January 29, 1982 (age 32) [1]
Houston, Texas
Origin Houston, Texas[2]
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Rapper
Years active 2008–present
Labels Mad Decent (present)
SODMG (former)
Associated acts Three Loco, Action Bronson, Diplo, DJ Skee, Harry Fraud, Lil Debbie
Website jodyhighroller.com

Horst Christian Simco[3][4] (born January 29, 1982) better known by the stage name Riff Raff (often stylized as RiFF RAFF),[5] is a rapper from Houston, Texas.[2] He was originally managed by Swishahouse co-founder OG Ron C.[6] Then after being associated with Soulja Boy's imprint S.O.D. Money Gang Inc., Riff Raff is now signed to producer Diplo's record label Mad Decent.[7] He is also known for being a member of the rap group Three Loco along with Andy Milonakis and Dirt Nasty.[8] His major label debut studio album Neon Icon was on June 24, 2014 on Mad Decent.[9]

Early life

Riff Raff was born Horst Simco in Houston, Texas, on January 29, 1982 to parents Anita Simco, a maid, and Ronald Simco, a Vietnam War veteran with severe post-traumatic stress disorder who worked various jobs including being a police officer and a manager at Walmart.[1][10] His mother grew up in Ohio, descending from a family of German and Lithuanian Jews that includes several survivors, and victims, of the Holocaust.[11] Riff Raff was the second of four siblings. He and his family lived in a ranch house located in the northwest suburbs of Houston, in an area called Copperfield about 25 miles outside of downtown. Growing up he was obsessed with basketball, playing frequently with a group kids in his neighborhood. By the middle of the decade, the Simcos had moved to a rental house in nearby Stone Creek, an area that had recently developed something of a gang problem. He attended Langham Creek High School, where he was shooting guard on his school's basketball team, before dropping out senior year.[1] Shortly after he obtained his GED.[11]

Soon after his parents divorced and around the same time Ronald, his father, was diagnosed with tonsil cancer and moved north to get out of the heat, landing in Duluth, Minnesota. For a period of time Riff Raff and his siblings were shuttled back and forth between there and Houston, where their mother remained. In 2001, he enrolled at Hibbing Community College in Hibbing, Minnesota, where he played on the basketball team and majored in liberal arts.[1][11] Ultimately, though, he felt out of place in Hibbing and lasted only a month on the basketball team. He dropped out in 2003 and moved back to Houston, where he found himself painting cars in the in-vogue "candy-colored" style and gradually beginning to build his new identity.[1] He would eventually settle in L.A. as he began to take his rapping career seriously.[4]

Musical career

2008–2009: Beginnings

Riff Raff started rapping in 2005, making homemade CDs of his rapping over other artists' beats, and passing them out at various malls in Houston. He credited his early influences being Texas veteran rappers Devin the Dude and Paul Wall.[11] Riff Raff took advantage of social media on Myspace, YouTube and WorldStarHipHop in late 2008, releasing songs, freestyle-videos, and sketch clips, which showcased his talent slapstick and performance art. He did this with the help of his first talent manager, DB da Boss, whose studio provided recording and video services. DB spoke with LA Weekly about the rapper, saying "He was very driven, very ambitious. You couldn't deny his work ethic," going on to say, "Underneath that shell is a very intelligent man." He looked up to Northside Houston rappers from label Swishahouse, who were blowing up around that time, including Paul Wall, Chamillionaire and Slim Thug. He began doing his hair up in braids popular among "Northsiders" like Slim Thug and shopping for bling at TV Jewelry, a store co-owned by Paul Wall and charismatic Vietnamese immigrant "TV" Johnny Dang, from whom Riff Raff also purchased gold grills. Like many other artists from Houston, Riff Raff also spent much of his time selling CDs at colleges and malls, occasionally alongside other local talent such at Fat Tony and Freestyle Bully.[1]

In an effort to get on television he went on many auditions, including for a part in a peanut butter commercial intended for a teenager. He and his friend also tried out for P. Diddy's Making the Band, to no avail. He was so determined to become famous that he flew to Atlanta to try out for MTV's reality show From G's to Gents. When he learned that he had made the cast for the program's second season, before taping had even begun, he immediately got a giant MTV logo tattooed on his neck and adjusted his stage name to "MTV Riff Raff". Though he was eliminated from the series on the second episode, he left an impression on viewers through his extravagant way of dressing and funny ad-libs.[1][12][13] Upon the season's debut in early 2009 appearance on the show would garner and immediate reaction to him, and catapulted his career.[1]

The same year actor, comedian and rapper Simon Rex noticed Riff Raff after being shown to him by notable producer The Alchemist. Rex contacted Riff Raff after watching one of his freestyle videos in which he revealed his phone number, and soon enough the two became friends and began recording as Riff Raff and Dirt Nasty.[1] The pair later formed a rap group Three Loco along with comedian Andy Milonakis, increasing Riff Raff's popularity by tapping into the two celebrities' fan bases.[1][13]

2010–2012: SODMG, Mad Decent, Various mixtapes

Beginning in 2011, Riff Raff begun to be managed by OG Ron C of Swishahouse fame, and moved to Los Angeles.[1] Riff Raff then started releasing more music videos that furthered the artist's internet fame. Those include songs such as "Jose Canseco",[14] and "Marc Jacobs".[15] Then in mid-2011, Riff Raff signed to Soulja Boy's label S.O.D. Money Gang Inc..[16] Weirdly Riff Raff had joined Soulja Boy's SODMG label before they'd even met in person; no paperwork was ever signed. However, Riff Raff still wore the imprint's chain, getting its logo tattooed, and again adjusting his moniker, this time to Riff Raff SODMG.[1] They would remain affiliated for around a year, but the label did not push or pay Riff Raff, which would result in him leaving the label. Soulja Boy publicly called Riff Raff a "cokehead" following their split.[1][17]

Some time before the official split Riff Raff affiliated with producers such as Diplo and Harry Fraud, as well as with Queens rapper Action Bronson. The music video he released for his collaboration with Fraud and Bronson, "Bird on a Wire," generated quite a hype and hit the one million plays-mark in roughly two months.[18] "Bird on a Wire" was listed as the 27th best song of 2012 by Complex Music.[19]

In early 2012 he would release music videos for the songs, "Larry Bird",[5] "Time"[20] and the Chief Keef collaboration "Cuz My Gear", among others.[21] In April 2012, Riff Raff also announced working with Diplo on a collaborative album tentatively titled Jody Highroller with confirmed guests Skrillex, Usher, Soulja Boy, Gucci Mane, Mystikal and Rusko.[22] In June 2012, Riff Raff released the Summer of Surf mixtape.[23] These events led into him officially signing with Diplo's label Mad Decent in June 2012.[24] The same year he released the album, The Golden Alien, independently in July.[25] It was followed by the release of the mixtape, Birth of an Icon, in August, which was listed by Stereogum as their "Mixtape of the Week."[26][27]

2013–present: Neon Icon

Main article: Neon Icon

Following the release of his mixtape Hologram Panda with producer Dame Grease, Riff Raff told MTV that his upcoming Mad Decent second studio album would be titled Riff Raff, The Neon Icon, later shortened to Neon Icon.[28] In February of 2013 he told Complex that his second studio album is due out some time during the third quarter of 2013.[29]

On June 25, 2013 he released a single titled "Dolce & Gabbana" , produced by DJ Carnage as the first single from Neon Icon, however two days later he announced that the song wouldn't be included on the album.[30][31][32] He was also featured on Far East Movement's single "The Illest" around the same time. Then on July 12, 2013 he released another non album single titled "Mr. Popular", and four days later released the music video for the song.[33][34] In August 2013, Riff Raff announced that he would be releasing a collaboration album with Action Bronson titled Galaxy Gladiators in 2014.[35][36]

On November 26, 2013 he released the first official single for Neon Icon titled "How To Be the Man" and produced by DJ Mustard.[37] That same month, Riff Raff told Rolling Stone in an interview that leading up to the album's release he would release various "left-over" tracks from the album's recording sessions[38] These notably included the Boi-1da produced "Real Boyz", featuring rappers OJ da Juiceman and Cap 1, as well as "Suckas Askin' Questions" with Lil Debbie and "Shoulda Won a Grammy" with Action Bronson.[39][40][41] In March of 2014, prior to the albums release, Rolling Stone included the album on there list of "27 Must-Hear Albums of 2014".[42] On May 20, 2014, Riff Raff announced through his Twitter that after much delay, Neon Icon was scheduled for a June 24, 2014 release date.[43] The same day the official track listing for the album was revealed, which included previously announced collaborations Mac Miller, Childish Gambino, Paul Wall, Mike Posner and Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors as well as Slim Thug.[44]

Spring Breakers controversy

On February 15, 2012 film director Harmony Korine contacted Riff Raff about appearing in an upcoming movie of his which would turn out to be Spring Breakers.[45] Once the details of the movie came out, there was speculation that the main character Alien was based on Riff Raff.[46] However according to James Franco, his character was based on the underground rap artist Dangeruss. He said "Of course Harmony and I looked at some of Riff Raff's videos as inspiration, but he was one of a number of people we looked at. I would say the biggest influence on the role was this local Florida rapper named Dangeruss. He's fairly unknown, but he was down there in the place, living the life, and he became the biggest model for me, and he's in the movie."[47]

After much back and forth between both camps about the issue, including Riff Raff appearing in a cameo for One Life to Live playing a character called "Jamie Franko".[48] Then during July 2013 Riff Raff announced he was suing the creators of Spring Breakers for 10 million dollars for sampling his life without his permission or a proper producer credit.[49] However, a search for court documents by LA Weekly in September 2013, resulted in no findings.[1]

Personal life

Riff Raff is known for his large amount of tattoos, which include the logos for WorldStarHipHop, MTV, NBA and BET.[11] He is a huge fan of The Simpsons, even getting a Bart Simpson chain and a tattoo of Bart holding test tubes that reads "The Freestyle Scientist" on his chest.[1] He also has a large gothic cross below his left shoulder, framed by a prayer rendered in cursive that reads, "Dear Jesus, Please Let Me In. Your Child, Horst Simco."[11]

Legal issues

On August 11, 2013, Riff Raff was arrested in Greensboro, North Carolina after police allegedly found an open container of alcohol, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, and drug paraphernalia in his vehicle. Riff Raff was then booked into jail along with the two passengers in his vehicle, and was released without bail later that night.[50][51]

Discography

Studio albums

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
US US R&B US Rap
The Golden Alien
Neon Icon
  • Released: June 24, 2014
  • Label: Mad Decent
  • Format: CD, digital download
22 6 4
"—" denotes a title that did not chart, or was not released in that territory.

Collaborations

Mixtapes

  • The Texas Tornado (2009)
  • Never Ending Saturday (2009)
  • Party McHardy (2010)
  • Rookie of The Future (2010)
  • The Freestyle Scientist (2010)
  • Hilton Swag Vol. 1 (2010)
  • Sour & Gun Powder (2011)
  • Purple Haze & Hand Grenades (with Lean Team) (2011) [54]
  • Rap Game Bon Jovi (2012)
  • Summer of Surf (2012) [55]
  • Birth of an Icon (2012)
  • Hologram Panda (with Dame Grease) (2012)

Singles

As lead artist

List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart
positions
Album
US
US R&B/HH digital
US Rap digital
"Tiger Woods"[56] 2011 Non-album single
"Bat Phone"[57]
(feat. Ghetty)
2012 The Golden Alien
"Pat EWiNG"[58]
(feat. Ghetty)
Non-album singles
"Tiger Woods"[59]
(feat. The Kid Ryan & B.Wash)
"Ace of Space"[60] 2013
"Dolce and Gabbana"[30] Non-album singles
"Mr. Popular"[34]
"How To Be the Man"[37] Neon Icon
"Suckas Askin' Questions"[41]
(feat. Lil Debbie)
Non-album singles
"Let Me Drive"[61] 2014
"Real Boyz"[40]
(feat. Cap1 & OJ da Juiceman)
"Tip Toe Wing In My Jawwdinz" 124 36 25 Neon Icon
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Collaborative singles

List of collaborative singles, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart
positions
Album
US
US R&B/HH
US Rap
"Hot Shots Part Deux"[62]
(with Action Bronson & Dana Coppafeel)
2012 Non-album singles
"LEANiNNN"[63]
(with Ghetty)
"Brain Freeze"[64]
(with Lil Debbie)
Birth Of An Icon
"Non Stop"[65]
(with Andre Legacy)
2013 Non-album single
"Gotta Get Away"[66]
(with DollaBillGates)
Jumpin Out The Gym
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

As featured artist

List of singles as featured performer, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart
positions
Album
US
US R&B/HH
US Rap
"Bird On A Wire"[67]
(Action Bronson feat. Riff Raff)
2012 Non-album singles
"You Never Know"[68]
(Bright Matter feat. Riff Raff)
"Money, Clothes, Jewellery"[69]
(Deezuz feat. Riff Raff)
"Popsicle"[70]
(Dog Bus feat. Riff Raff)
"Michelle Obama"[71]
(Lil Debbie feat. Riff Raff)
"Rap Game James Franco (Salisbury Steak Sweater)"[72]
(Deezus feat. Riff Raff)
2013
"The Illest"[73]
(Far East Movement feat. Riff Raff)
107 18 KTown Riot
"Visions of Coleco"[74]
(Hyper Crush feat. Riff Raff)
Vertigo
"Hella Gone"[75]
(Spadez feat. Riff Raff & Deniro Farrar)
Non-Album Singles
"Stay With You Tonight"[76]
(Clinton Sparks feat. Riff Raff)
2014
"This Is How We Do"[77]
(Katy Perry feat. Riff Raff)
"Rookies of the Future"[78]
(The Alchemist feat. Riff Raff & Action Bronson)
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Guest appearances

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Bigger In Texas" 2010 Mic Feelz Fraggled Block
"It Don't Matter"
"Hide & Seek" 2011 Kid Sister Kiss & Tell
"One Take Tony" Johnny Mack, Nikki Nicole Self Destructive
"Bobby Fischer Leaned" Native Minds Hallowlean
"James Bond Blimp" Prof King Gampo
"Porsche Cayenne" 2012 B.A.R.S. Murre Chicken and Cake
"Cuz My Gear" Chief Keef N/A
"Space Jam" Daniel Dahmer Raw Crack from the Trap Vol. 1
"Rap Game Michelle Kwan" Dog Bus N/A
"Orion's Belt" Kitty Pryde Ha Ha, I'm Sorry
"Express Yourself Two Times" Laura Mikos N/A
"Squirt" Lil Debbie
"Juevos Rancheros" Meyhem Lauren Respect the Fly Shit
"Drinks on Me (Remix)" Millionaires Your Girl Does Party
"Rap Game Donut Sprinkles" Not the 1s N/A
"Cray" Toadally Krossed Out Jeffree's, Vol. 6
"Razor Blades" Trapzillas N/A
"Neon Freedom"
"Gold Chains" TrapZillas, Logic Ali, DJ Wonder, After The Smoke
"Droppd Out Uv School" Yung Houston The Return Of Prince Huey South
"Long Pinky" 2013 Beautiful Lou, Action Bronson N/A
"Golden Boys" Black Dave Black Bart
"Molly World" Bizarre Lace Blunts
"White" Casino N/A
"Alec Baldwin"[79] Caskey The Transient Classics
"Bad Habits" Charlie Bars The Statement
"Practice"
"Versace Salad"
"Turnt Up" Clinton Sparks, 2 Chainz My Awesome Mixtape 4
"Lickety Split" DAVEYLOW, B.A.R.S. Murre Hustlers 1st
"CROWN" Diplo, Action Bronson, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Nicky da B Revoluton EP
"Rock Steady" Diplo, Mike Posner, Boaz Van De Beatz
"Twisted" Dirt Nasty, Andy Milonakis Palatial
"Bugatti (Skeemix)" DJ Skee N/A
"Karate Chop (Skeemix)"
"Genesis (Skeemix)"
"Like Whaaat (Skeemix)"
"R.I.P. (Skeemix)"
"Show Out (Skeemix)"
"Started from the Bottom (Skeemix)"
"Not At All" Doe Boy In Freebandz We Trust
"What You Mean (Remix)" N/A
"Fireworks" DollaBillGates Next Level Independence
"Fucked Up" FKi, Spodee Transformers N The Hood 2
"Trampoline (Remix)" Grandtheft, ETC! ETC!, 2 Chainz, Tinie Tempah N/A
"Yacht Lash" Harry Fraud, Earl Sweatshirt High Tide
"Woodpecker" Jefe Wine N/A
"Bout It Girl" Matt Shadetek The Empire Never Ended
"Sorry" Migos, Rich The Kid, OJ da Juiceman N/A
"Jumpin Out Da Gym (Remix)" Migos, Trinidad James Y.R.N. (Young Rich Niggas)
"First Come" TKO Capone N/A
"Caught Up" Trapzillas, Logic Ali
"All You Playas"
"Summer In the City" Trapzillas, Logic Ali, A-WAX
"College Girls" Trapzillas, Logic Ali, TKO Capone
"Rainy Day" Trapzillas, Logic Ali, Trouble Andrew
"Dirty Trunks" Trapzillas, Logic Ali, Trouble Andrew, Rob Coin
"Overdose" SD Life Of A Savage 3
"Nope" Snow Tha Product Good Nights & Bad Mornings 2: The Hangover
"HMDT!" Sky Blu, Shwayze Rebel Music
"Now That Im On" Sy Ari Da Kid, Future, K. Camp, Slim Dunkin N/A
"In Love With The Money" Peter Jackson, OJ Da Juiceman Good Company
"Easy Money (Remix)" 2014 Wrekonize, Bun B, & Jackie Chain N/A
"The Illest (Remix)" Far East Movement, ScHoolboy Q, B.o.B
"Instagram" DJ Noodles
"Stopwatch" Adrian Lau, Charlie Bars Projection
"Famous (Remix)" Rich The Kid, Migos Feels Good 2 Be Rich
"Drip" Curtis Williams N/A
"Rambunctious" Beat King, Danny Brown
"Fwd Back" Audio Push, King Chip

References

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External links