Take RiFF RaFF's NEON iCON Seriously? Hell Yes
The furor surrounding NEON iCON is because RiFF RaFF employs nearly every piece of weaponry executive producer and Mad Decent label boss Diplo gave him. There's Mac Miller doing his best Jody Highroller impersonation on "Aquaberry Dolphin," morphing his already nasally flow into one any weed head would appreciate. He drops off into that vortex of amazing high-level alliteration on "Lava Glaciers," where he rattles off about Prada pocket protectors next to Childish Gambino.
He goes for Houston legitimacy on the remix to "How to Be the Man," his DJ Mustard-produced banger that borrows from every great Lil Mario Swishahouse freestyle of the '90s and early '00s and pairs it with Paul Wall and Slim Thug. That's a slice of the good NEON iCON , where RiFF RaFF is free. The other side packages him into a pop-rap star who could do literally anything, and flies a bit off the rails.
There are country-rap tunes of the literal variety here, often presenting moments that make you think you're being roped into a joke, but offer nothing there to meet you. I don't think the world is ready for a RiFF RaFF love song, but that's what we get with "Maybe You Love Me" -- featuring lost-but-now-found singer Mike Posner -- or the awkward rockabilly "Kokayne," but we're stuck with them amid plenty of freewheeling fun.
If RiFF RaFF is capable of doing one thing, it's getting people to talk about him, and NEON iCON achieves just that. Ironically, it's a damn good rap album in a year where they seem few and far between. There's even a little homage to Mr. Lee's wayward circus of constantly alive snares and snaps on "Tip Toe Wing in My Jawwwdinz," where he could have easily said he was crawling like Wall would. Instead, he tells us he can fuck around and sing hooks like Anita Baker. If you've been riding the wave for this long, why stop now?
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