I sincerely doubt I’m in the minority when I say that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Riff Raff.
When Riff first arrived on the scene, I was part of the overwhelming majority that assumed he was a caricature, a short-lived parody of the extreme reaches of the hip-hop spectrum. Over time, however, the unexpected longevity of Riff’s relevance and the surprising quality of some of his music made many of us reconsider our initial reactions.
In truth, Riff Raff is a caricature, but it’s a role he’s been committed to so deeply and for so long that we’ve been all but forced to accept him as either a legitimate participant in the current musical landscape or the Andy Kaufman of our time.
I’d be lying if I said I felt motivated to check out Riff’s latest album Peach Panther, even though I legitimately enjoy listening to Neon Icon two years after its initial release.
I am, however, a big fan of his pairing Danny Brown with Gucci Mane on “I Drive By,” and the visual elements I have seen from the album have been entertaining, especially after Riff announced in May that the videos for Peach Panther were essentially snippets of an upcoming full-length movie with the same title.
Yesterday (December 26), that announcement was given new life with the release of a trailer for The Peach Panther.
The trailer is in fact comprised mostly of footage from the videos we’ve seen so far off Peach Panther—the opening scene of the trailer is taken from the “Carlos Slim” visuals—and the rest of the trailer boasts outlandish scenes and cameos from the likes of Perez Hilton, The Fat Jew, Tommy Chong, G-Eazy, Problem, Mally Mal and more.
While I’ve grown accustomed to taking anything that comes out of Riff Raff’s mouth with an entire salt shaker, I have to at least entertain the idea that Riff’s claims of an upcoming feature film are true, which begs the question: is Riff Raff bringing back the hip-hop B-movie?
Though the last two decades have provided us with some legitimate hip-hop-centered gems—Straight Outta Compton, Notorious, Hustle & Flow, Belly—by and large, the films produced by hip-hop artists have been awful from a cinematic standpoint.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a special place in my heart for films like State Property 2, Killa Season, I Got The Hook Up and I Accidentally Domed Your Son, but you’re not going to see James Lipton picking the brains of Beanie Siegel or Cam’ron anytime soon. That’s because those movies are absolutely horrible, yet they exist in that special category of “so bad it’s good,” a category that Riff Raff is positioned to dominate considering the visuals we’ve seen from him thus far.
Despite the lyrical simplicity of his music, Riff’s improvisational skills have always been top-notch when it comes to playing a role. His penchant for hilarious costumes and accents and his ability to string together non-sequiturs into legitimate laughs is part of his charm, and will likely translate perfectly to the big screen if The Peach Panther doesn’t attempt to take itself too seriously, which, knowing Riff, shouldn’t be a concern.
"I'm the new Chuck Norris, in the matte black Ford Taurus," explained Riff Raff when we spoke with him via text. "I'm the new Steven Seagal. Period. This is gonna be the biggest action comedy since Rocky. This isn't some DVD BS."
Actually, yup, The Peach Panther could be exactly the offering that solidifies Riff’s place in the hip-hop annals as a legitimate contributor. If Riff executes this movie correctly, it will surely land in that same “so bad it’s good” pile that so many of our hip-hop favorites lovingly reside in.
Until it apparently hits theaters (or YouTube) in the fall of 2017, I’m going to hit play on the Peach Panther album and try to wrap my head around how outrageous this movie is going to be, if it does in fact exist.
Please let it exist.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: YouTube