by Mike Ramos
on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 6:11 PM
Despite being one of the more "viral" human beings in the world right now, Riff Raff is one of the few meme-personas of modern rap that I have mostly ignored for whatever reason (listening to tons of Lil B, having several gigs worth of DatPiff mixtapes on my hard drive and already following too many people on Twitter and Tumblr are a few). But some odd combination of morbid curiosity, journalistic duty and quintessential FOMO compelled me to check out the white rapper/former MTV reality show contestant's set in Fremont last night. Riff Raff has made a habit of piecing together "rap game ____" non sequiturs by name-dropping random people or things, but his set really was, as said by one of his hypemen, "Rap Game Monday Night Football" — a boisterous, flashy, kinda insane display surrounding one of American rap's most-viewed personalities. And like on those MNF broadcasts, the game, or set in this case, was only a small part of the night's events.
Riff Raff was initially scheduled to perform at 10:15, and the all-ages section sold out over an hour before that. Every conversation in the bar seemed to echo the same sentiment that brought me there — "I just had to see this in person" — but the underage crowd appeared legitimately excited to see one of their generation's most bugged-out celebrities "bring the rice out," whatever that means*. A young couple even tried hopping the outside 21+ section's fence to gain entry, the male falling from atop the fence into some bushes as his skirt-wearing female counterpart showed about half the venue her undies while awkwardly scaling over after him. Both were kicked out immediately by one seriously pissed-off bouncer.
Surprising absolutely no one, the set started over an hour late, supposedly because Riff Raff was shooting a video somewhere in town just before the show (The VIP-section presence of Odd Future's Left Brain, Mike G and Jasper seemed to back this up). Sporting a loud-ass tanktop/shorts combo and a wireless mic headset (!!!) to go with his signature maze-pattern cornrows, zigzag beard lineup and huge fucking MTV logo chain, Jody Highroller was as much of a character in person as he is online. Though he wasn't really doing anything (not even holding a microphone!), he did get a few very-willing jailbait-aged girls onstage and provoke the crowd to chant for titties (kinda creepy!) and premiere a new song that name-dropped Shawn Kemp, Ken Griffey Jr., Gary Payton, even Brian Bosworth, and contained a typically stupid/genius hook that was all "Versace baby rattle got me Sleepless in Seattle" and "the way I ball, shoulda played for the Seahawks." Not sure if Riff Raff already knew that pandering to a Seattle crowd's affinity for localized nostalgia, especially involving sports figures, is a foolproof way to get them rocking with you, but it definitely worked for him (watch the performance of the song above, thanks to hard-grinding local blog Sermons Domain).
After about 30 minutes, Riff Raff closed (yeah, after 30 minutes) with Chief Keef collaboration/one of the songs of his I had heard before "Cuz My Gear," letting the 17-year-old Chicagoan's recorded verse shut things down as he left the stage. Everyone in the crowd seemed pretty obliterated by Monday night standards, and almost as soon as the music ended, like 20 fights nearly broke out. This spilled out onto 36th Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood, and from what I heard later a large-scale, WSHH-worthy brawl erupted and ended with at least one dude napping on the pavement. Riff Raff isn't even a "violent" rapper by any means, more concerned with making puns about his jewelry than the kind of heat he holds, but the outbursts seemed like all part of the ridiculous "Rap Game Monday Night Football" spectacle that only something like a Riff Raff show in a small Fremont venue could create.
I'm still not sure if all this was awesome or horrible, but like Riff Raff's music, NFL football, and the internet in 2012, I think it was a weird blend of both.
*pretty sure it has something to do with cocaine, "stuntin' on hoez" or some combination of these