By: Shirley Ju (@shirju)
RiFF RAFF will forever be recognized as a Houston legend. While there’s much controversy that surrounds his name, his cult-like fanbase remains true through it all. His 2014 debut album Neon Icon yielded banger "Tip Toe Wing in My Jawwdinz" and an explosive H-Town remix to "How to Be the Man” with Slim Thug and Paul Wall.
Fast forward to 2019, RiFF has officially signed ANOTHER million-dollar deal. While his IG bio reveals his forthcoming album ARROGANT AMERiCAN, coming July 4th, he just views it as one of the 10 albums fans can expect on the way.
AllHipHop caught up with RiFF RAFF while recording in Los Angeles, to discuss fame, clout-chasing, and the recent ban on abortions.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your role in Sonic The Hedgehog?
RiFF RAFF: I’m a voice in there. Next question.
AllHipHop: You say Jim Carrey is the greatest actor of all time. How was your interactions with him?
RiFF RAFF: I can’t talk about other people, I’m not allowed to.
AllHipHop: Can you talk about the major deal you just signed?
RiFF RAFF: I’m recording an album right now. Look over here, this is where I record my music. [points to makeshift studio in house] Outside over here, this is where I’ll go swim. Take a nap in the pool. I got 10 albums, I have 100 songs.
AllHipHop: What’s the label?
RiFF RAFF: Million Dollar Music.
AllHipHop: Is it a million dollar deal?
RiFF RAFF: How it works in music is you get a budget, so it’s up to you how you wanna spend it. If it’s a million dollars, you can make 10 albums out of that. I don’t like a lot of money upfront. I like the profit in the back, when the money’s just coming in. I can do 10 albums for a million dollars.
AllHipHop: What inspires you to create music today?
RiFF RAFF: It’s easy. Some people do stuff maybe for other reasons: fame or something. Fame... everybody knows me, I’m a household name. I don’t care about that. It’s easy for me to make music, I like to make music.
AllHipHop: Is it hard to upkeep your hair?
RiFF RAFF: Grab it. I grow it out in the back and keep it trimmed.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from ARROGANT AMERiCAN on July 4th?
RiFF RAFF: I have 10 albums, so we haven’t even [Thud!]
AllHipHop: What inspired “What Does It Mean To Be A Queen”?
RiFF RAFF: I recorded that in an hour. I mean, omen are the most important thing on earth.
AllHipHop: What are your thoughts on the abortion bans?
RiFF RAFF: I don’t keep up with the news. It’s so hard to keep up with what people like and don’t like. My thoughts on abortion, that’s such a touchy subject. I’m not a woman so I can’t tell anybody what to do. I barely have enough time getting through my day. I’ve never had an abortion.
The backlash has been them saying that men shouldn’t dictate what women’s bodies can do.
RiFF RAFF: They shouldn’t. Men shouldn’t tell women anything. Nobody should be able to tell anybody what to do. Everybody should be able to pick their own path.
AllHipHop: Top 5 artists you’re bumping right now?
RiFF RAFF: Depeche Mode, it’s a band from the 80’s. I listen to a lot of 80’s songs. Madonna, really old country songs. Garth Brooks. I’m trying to make different kinds of music.
AllHipHop: Thoughts on Lil Nas X blowing up with “Old Town Road??
RiFF RAFF: It’s a very big song right now. I hear it every 5 minutes, so that’s a win right?
AllHipHop: So you like it?
RiFF RAFF: Well, it’s a big song. He won with that song. It’s a big win.
AllHipHop: How do you feel about people saying that he blew up off of social media antics?
RiFF RAFF: Doesn’t everybody? Music and social media in this day and age, the lines are smeared. To define something as a good song or good music — if that’s what it was about, I’d have 50 platinum plaques right now. A lot has to do with who knows what? Whenever you’re making a song that plays every 5 minutes, then that’s a win. That’s all that matters.
AllHipHop: In your own career, how do you feel you blew up?
RiFF RAFF: Mmmm, I don’t think I’ve even blew up yet. I haven’t blew up yet.
AllHipHop: What does blow up mean to you?
RiFF RAFF: I don’t know, but I’m not there yet. To me, he does what he wants. He’s recording. What I do in my day to day basis, I don’t really put on social media. I don’t know what the definition is. I guess blowing up for me is like… you know how The Rock is in every movie? Or your song is on the radio every 5 minutes? The Migos blew up. Gucci Mane got out of jail, then he blew up. He was famous before, but then he blew up after. There’s a level of blowing up where you’re on the radio, every song.
AllHipHop: Favorite part of the West Coast?
RiFF RAFF: I like the food out here. I like acai bowls right now. And pressed juice.
AllHipHop: Can you tell me about your health kick?
RiFF RAFF: I’m just low carbs right now. [stretches] I’ve been trying to stretch and do cardio a lot. I lost 20 pounds. I wanted to. I gained weight, I was 250 pounds. It’s a slow process. I try to go to the gym and work out, but I live in Florida now. And I live in Kentucky.
AllHipHop: When’d you leave Houston?
RiFF RAFF: Years ago, just grew out of it. I’ve lived in LA for 3 years, but there’s too much traffic. Now, I’m out here for a month recording with me and my team. That’s fun. I like to get in album-mode, but I don’t like to just live here all the time.
AllHipHop: Favorite collab you’ve ever done?
RiFF RAFF: I can’t remember, that must mean it hasn’t happened yet.
AllHipHop: Is there someone you want to collab with?
RiFF RAFF: Not necessarily, I’ve actually grown out of wanting to do features with people. I found the more people involved with something, the fun gets taken out of it. There’s too much paperwork, this and that. Scheduling, you have to do it on their time. I really don’t like people. I don’t hate people, I just don’t like them. Reaching out, talking, it’s a hassle.
AllHipHop: Young Thug recently aired his thoughts on clout-chasing, what is your perspective?
RiFF RAFF: People should stop clout-chasing! But that’s not gonna stop. People wanting to be famous? Not gonna stop. I’m not really in public like that, I don’t go around people. When people come up and ask for my picture — they come up, walk around my shoulder and already Snapchatting — probably a couple of years ago, I would’ve been like “chill out!” Omg, don’t go into public then! That’s why I have to maneuver right.
AllHipHop: You don’t like fans?
RiFF RAFF: Is it a fan though? Not always. Just ‘cause somebody wants to take a picture with you... back in the 80’s if it was Macho Man Randy Savage, when I was a kid I wouldn’t be thinking “hey let me get a picture with him!” I’d be like “holy s##t, that’s Macho Man Randy Savage!” Click. That’s a fan.
Nowadays, let’s say you’re King Tut with all the gold on. A fan of yours is like “omg, it’s King Tut!” Then somebody who wants to be you will be like “I’m King Tut too! I touched King Tut. I’m more King Tut than King Tut is! I’m the new King tut now.” That’s the mentality of clout-chasing. People think they can magically become famous. “How’d you become famous?” I’m not even famous. Don’t ask me.
AllHipHop: What about the real fans that ask for pictures?
RiFF RAFF: I got Meet & Greets at shows right? I’m just saying. You can ask me for a picture any time if I’m in public. If I’m in the grocery store or somewhere random and somebody ask me for a picture, I’ll take it — but that’s my fault for being in public. I should expect that, or move more stealthy.
AllHipHop: How often are people coming up to you in LA?
RiFF RAFF: Every minute. One, two minutes, but that’s everybody. It is what it is. You gotta take it. That’s part of the fame.