The Neon Baller 

A Q&A with RiFF RAFF

RiFF RAFF A hero for our times.

RiFF RAFF A hero for our times.

IN THE NEW TESTAMENT'S Book of Balling, a passage reads: "There will come a candy-color-robed orator from Houston with cornrows, sky-blue eyes, and braids in the back longer than Latrell Sprewell's. He will tell of Versace with a Texas drawl. He will wave a wand over his carry-on Louis Vuitton. Then eat filet mignon. He will dribble between his legs, step back, and drain the fadeaway three. He shall cavort upon you." New Testament sources have confirmed that the passage is about Horst Christian Simco, AKA RiFF RAFF, the eyebrow-striped, Mad Decent–signed rapper with facial hair shaved like alien crop circles. Of ballers currently balling, RiFF RAFF is one of the ballingest ballers.

RiFF's grilled bravado and braggadocious presence rouse reaction, love or hate. People ask if he's mocking hiphop. People get mad. Why? Because he's on top of being over-the-top? Because he's a self-made internet entity? His drive and ambition are undeniable. His shows are cyclones of bodies going hyphy. RiFF has gone from MTV reality-show contestant to Diplo-produced collaborations with Drake, A$AP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, and 2 Chainz. He's a pariah, he's a piranha, he's Jody Highroller the entertainer, and he's got James Franco playing him in movies. Love him or hate him, it's not gonna change RiFF or stop him. The much-anticipated Mad Decent release of his Neon iCon album has been pushed back again to this June. Until then, we have him rolling at us live in his raspberry, aqua, and lime-green iCON tour bus. You can't miss it: He's the one on the side holding the baby and the husky puppy.


MERCURY: What were you doing a minute and a half ago?

RiFF RAFF: I was breathing fresh phantom berries.

I'd like to announce the new RiFF RAFF roller coaster that will be appearing at Six Flags amusement parks. If Spider-Man has a roller coaster, you should have one.

You got connections like that?

Yeah. I'll hit them up. I'd like to make it happen. It's a great idea.

That would be dope, if you got connections like that.

I think it should be called the RiFF RAFF Viper Coil. What do you think? It's got loops all over the place. Some are spiraling loops, made to look like your braids. It can go through a tunnel that looks like a jewelry display. Each car is a little red Aston Martin and has Bose speakers. Everyone who rides gets a can of whipped cream to spray. What else?

I'd have to think about it. I'd figure it out, you know what I mean? I'd design something tight, and put it in writing. If the money was right, and they want to let me design it, I'd do that. How much money are we talking? I like the whipped cream. I think it would be something like a neon waterslide that lasts 30 minutes. It would start in LA and end in Vegas.

Besides roller coasters, what other products have you been endorsing lately? The RiFF RAFF toaster oven?

VIP floater sandals.

Give us some facial hair sculpting advice. You're doing surgery there. How do you do it?

I been doing this for 1,000 years.

When you're writing verses, where do your words come from? Do beats bring the words, or do words form the beats?

I pick a beat I like, then I make a hook, then I fill in the blanks—rap game Mad Libs.

Let's talk basketball. You've got skills. You're a two guard, I believe. What do you do best on the court?

Half-court hook shots. Three-pointers. I can shoot the three. Had 13 threes in a game one time.

If I were guarding you, what would be the best way to stop you? Can you go left and right?

Oooh, now I don't wanna tell that.

Who would win if you played 2 Chainz in one-on-one?

Is it for money? I'd play for money. If I'm playing for money, I'd win.

Sure. If you want to play 2 Chainz for money, let's make it happen. Pick a charity or something. How much does it cost to play you in one-on-one?

Probably $5,000 to play me. Then we decide how much we're gonna bet. But if someone wants to play me, give me $5,000. Or I don't know, let's make it $10,000. That's the entrance fee. Then we'll decide how much we're betting. I would drop 37 points on 2 Chainz if I played for the Clippers, but I got kicked out of the NBA when they found cocaine on my strippers.

What music are you into lately?

I'm into Lady Gaga.

When was the first time you knew you were going to be a rapper?

I was two and I seen Ninja Turtles and I wanted to be Michelangelo.

People say a lot of shit about you. But it doesn't get to you. Seems like it motivates you. How did you grow such a thick skin?

Had to learn that the haters aren't happy people, so stay away from them.

What's the best way to clown on haters?

Having your own line of sandals is disrespectful to haters.

Later I called the Six Flags corporate office and spoke with an operations manager. I told them I was part of their roller-coaster inspection unit. Here is that conversation:

MERCURY: I have an idea for a roller coaster based on the rapper RiFF RAFF. We could call it the Baller. Or the Viper Coil. The loops are made to look like his braids. This guy is fly as hell. It would be a great roller coaster.

SIX FLAGS: I know who RiFF RAFF is; my son is a fan. We're from Texas. But we probably wouldn't be able to do that because our parks are for families. We're all ages. How did you get connected to me?

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is all ages. That thing scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. That ride should be rated R.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is Disneyland.

You all should do a series of rides based on rappers. They'd be your most popular rides, I'm telling you. The 50 Cent Drop? One of those rides that just drops you. The Wu-Tang Spinner? The Nicki Minaj Ice Castle? The Snoop Dogg Small World River Boat Adventure? Every kid in America would want to ride that.

I do see your point. I'll run it up the chain. I don't think we could call a ride the Baller. I just think rap's adult themes are too adult. I'd want to ride a Snoop Dogg ride, too [laughs].

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