Improbably, he's instead achieved celebrity and perhaps riches as well. He speaks gleefully of the Las Vegas home he's outfitting with a Jacuzzi in the living room and lists off the cars he says he owns, including a Porsche Panamera.

He's become so well-known that the simulacrum is now a simulacrum. When acclaimed filmmaker Harmony Korine was planning his college bacchanal dystopia Spring Breakers, he attempted unsuccessfully to contact Riff Raff to participate. In the end, James Franco played a St. Petersburg drug dealer-cum-rapper named Alien, whose appearance and speaking style were similar to Riff Raff's. (Riff Raff influenced the character, Korine and Franco say, but so did others, including a little-known Florida MC named Dangeruss.)

In July, Riff Raff announced that he was suing the filmmakers for using his likeness. Countless outlets reported on his attempts to win $10 million, but it appears to be little more than a publicity stunt. A search of court records turned up no lawsuit.

When Riff Raff (with Bun B) "started to get into rap, he started to emulate the black culture."
Marco Torres
When Riff Raff (with Bun B) "started to get into rap, he started to emulate the black culture."
In 2011, Riff Raff arrived in L.A. to stay. He won over critics via collaborations.
Marco Torres
In 2011, Riff Raff arrived in L.A. to stay. He won over critics via collaborations.

His tawdrier exploits have only added to the Riff Raff myth. Two women publicly accused him of masturbating in front of them after he invited them into his home. (Riff Raff did not respond to a request for comment on that allegation.)

Other women who claim to have hooked up with him offer lurid accounts. But at least they don't suggest he's a phony: On a site called phatfriend.com, one woman wrote that, throughout their hookup, he didn't break character: "He is him. A caricature of himself maybe. He believes it, and I guess that's what makes the myth the man."


Riff Raff had high hopes when he showed up to behemoth New York radio station Hot 97 in May for an interview. But program director Ebro Darden harshly accused Riff Raff on air of perpetuating "a stereotype of a certain type of black person" and wondered if his look was a mere costume.

To Darden, it comes down to authenticity: If Riff Raff came from a hardscrabble, urban environment, he could understand the rationale for dressing as he did. Not otherwise.

Now, after being filled in on the details of Riff Raff's upbringing by a reporter, Darden is unconvinced. "I felt like it was an act, and based on the information you're giving me, it is an act," he says. "My main issue is the appropriation of what people think is black culture to gain credibility."

Following Miley Cyrus' much-derided performance at this year's Video Music Awards, the pop star was similarly accused of crude racial appropriation. But when does a look stop being a costume and start being who you really are?

After all, maybe it was initially dress-up, but now the costume is more real than the boy who first donned it. Horst Simco was a quiet, pensive kid who turned from Horst (the one who played by the rules) into Riff Raff (the disreputable one) because hip-hop was a world where confident, sharp-dressed men succeeded. So, like countless rappers and movie stars before him, he faked it until he made it, and suddenly there was no Horst Simco anymore. There was only Riff Raff.

But Riff Raff hasn't abandoned Horst entirely. He might betray where he came from, but not the performer who inspired him.

While white rappers like Eminem and 3rd Bass both have gone out of their ways to dis Vanilla Ice, Riff Raff has repeatedly professed his admiration for his childhood idol, including during the Hot 97 interview.

"To me, you're the new Vanilla Ice!" Darden said, intending it as a jab.

"I love it," Riff Raff responded.

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3 comments
sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

so when he was "white" he was a good kid


when he went "non-white" 


he became trouble




if a right winger type had stated that fact the haters of truth would be going all OWS 



but its stated like it is 


no big deal


had to call you out on it

wild_og
wild_og

Looks like allot of work goes into that look. I used to date a girl like that 2 hours every morning putting her look on.

alyssa785
alyssa785

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