A Brief Primer On Riff Raff, The (Really Good) Houston Rapper Who Will Be Portrayed On Screen By James Franco

If Noz and The Onion collaborated, they might come up with a scenario like this one: Gucci Mane and Selena Gomez star in a Harmony Korine-directed film alongside James Franco, whose character is loosely based on the little-known YouTube rapper Riff Raff. But, of course, this is the era of trollgaze, so that movie is very real. (Which should be obvious considering the presence of Franco, Hollywood's most visible and consistent troll.) Real, too, are these photos of Franco—in full Riff Raff regalia, cornrows and all—mugging on a fake Spring Break concert stage holding a pistol in each hand.

All of which brings up many questions—but here's an important one: Just who is Riff Raff?

Riff Raff first came into the public eye on the unmemorable MTV reality show From G's To Gents, which might give a hint about his motivations and personality. Early in his career, he stylized his name as MTV Riff Raff; he dropped that in favor of Riff Raff SODMG when he was "signed" by Soulja Boy's label of the same name. He claims to be from Acres Homes in Houston, and his style of rapping would support that, but it's pretty possible that Riff Raff the character is from Houston while Riff Raff the person is from somewhere else entirely. He is a blatant panderer, with tattoos of the logos of the NBA, MTV and WorldStarHipHop on his torso and neck; he's also a brazen troll, having collaborated with rap blog memes such as 50 Tyson and Lil Debbie.

Yet, all of that noise distracts from a pretty simple truth: Riff Raff is a really good rapper.

Riff Raff is both an utterly shameless biter (which probably explains Soulja Boy's interest) and entirely unique MC. He steals flows (from Fat Pat to OJ Da Juiceman) and beats wholesale, and he puts absolutely no effort into masking his influences (iconic Houston label Swishahouse, Gucci Mane, Young Dro, Lil B). It should come as no surprise that he has songs actually named "Lil B" and "The White Gucci Mane," which play up his shamelessness while also goosing YouTube views. His videos from two years ago show him in the projects, but now he splits his time between making legitimate strides in his career by appearing on tracks with Soulja Boy and Action Bronson and hanging around with trolls both professional (Andy Milonakis, Simon Rex) and amateur (V-Nasty, Diplo).

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