“A collection of profound and epic album reviews and musical articles by former astronaut and brain surgeon, Alasdair Kennedy. Reaching levels of poetry that rival Keats and Blake, the following reviews affirm Alasdair to be a prodigy, a genius and a god whose opinion is always objectively right. He is also without a doubt the most modest man in the universe.” - Alasdair Kennedy
Forget Eminem. Forget Nas. If you want expert
lyricism, look no further than Riff Raff’s Neon
Icon. Here are just a few examples of the impressive poetry on display on
in my ear looks like a baby penguin’
dyslexic in a four door mango Lexus’
game Uncle Ben pulling rice out of the oven.’
‘Now I’m in Chinatown. Bok Choi.’ –
this line comes out of absolutely nowhere and has nothing to do with the rest
of the song. Beautiful.
is the moon talking to you. The actual moon.’ –one of the skits is told from the
perspective of the moon.
The actual moon.
I was lying. The lyrics on this album are not poetic in the slightest. They’re hilariously
awful. In fact, Riff Raff might just have succeeded in producing the most stupid hip hop
album of all time.
before we get ahead of ourselves and start getting overcritical, let’s discuss some background info
surrounding this guy. Horst Christian Simco (AKA Riff Raff) is a Houston rapper
and self-confessed codeine addict, who’s made a name for himself as one of the
most goofy, polarising musicians out there. He’s been active a few years, but
only now has he released his debut album, Neon
Icon. According to an interview, when asked whether his music was a joke or
not, he replied that it was in fact serious.
I refuse to believe it. Riff Raff is not a serious rapper, but a professional troll
not too dissimilar from Lil B. You only have to look at the cover of this album
to work that out. He’s got pink dreads and he’s holding a puppy and a baby.
Come on. This dude is about as serious as a whoopy cushion.
realise this, Neon Icon turns out to
be a pretty damn entertaining listen. I have never chuckled so much at an album
before. In fact, at points I was in tears. How can I hate an album that made me laugh so hard?
the problem is this: how much talent does it really take to write goofy lyrics? Yes, this is an entertaining record, but can I really call this a good album? Can I really merit a grown man for writing lyrics like
'Ice in my ear looks like a baby penguin'
take a look at the rest of this album and work that out. The beats here are pretty good for the most
part. There's some trap stuff, some Beastie Boys-style stuff. Riff Raff’s flow is alright. He’s also got a unique tone of voice, which
gives him his own sonic style.
clearly diversity on this album too. There are a few skits, a few tracks with guest
vocals from famous rappers such as ‘Childish Gambino’ and ‘Mac Miller’, a bizarre
country track entitled ‘Time’ and the weird autotuned dance track called ‘VIP
Pass to my heart’. Admittedly, the country track and the dance track are
pretty awful musically and have no relation to the rest of the album, but I can’t help
thinking that was Riff Raff’s intention.
the only way to really judge whether this album is good or not is to measure
how funny it is overall. Is the stupidity consistent? Certainly on the first
half of the album it is. However, the backend seems to suffer a bit, even
ending up a little serious at points. ‘Cool it Down’ is about Riff Raff’s rise
to fame and isn’t humorous at all (and if it was supposed to be humourous, the joke
was clearly lost on me). It’s this scary inconsistancy towards the end of the record
that almost has me doubting whether Riff Raff is a joke or not, and that’s not
good, because to think that this album could be accidentally bad as opposed to
intentionally bad is enough to make someone give up faith in humanity.
I think this is an entertainingly stupid album but it’s not quite
entertainingly stupid enough for me to fall in love with it. And that's probably the most solid verdict I can come to.