Pazz & Jop: Riff Raff Is Keeping It Surreal

He's believable as a hip-hop star because nothing he says is true

Details


See the full 2012 Pazz and Jop Critics Poll.

ESSAYS:

Miguel Is Living The Dream
Sex takes center stage on his sophomore album
By Brian McManus

Frank Ocean's Sea Change
His musical and personal honesty made waves in 2012
By Eric Sundermann

A Trip Through Fiona Apple's Wheelhouse
The singer-songwriter wrestles with the idea of mind as machine
By Audra Schroeder

Kendrick Lamar, Finally Compton's Most Wanted
It took quite some time for the rapper to become an overnight success
By Jeff Weiss

The Confounding, Inexplicable Splendor of Rapper Future
Space is the place
By Rob Harvilla

Pazz & Jop: Taylor Swift, Grimes, and Lana Del Rey: The Year in Blond Ambition
How dare they have an image
By Jessica Hopper

You Don't Know Jack (White)
After a dozen years in the public eye, the man proves he can still surprise us
By Alan Light

Riff Raff Is Keeping It Surreal
He's believable as a hip-hop star because nothing he says is true
By Ben Westhoff

Travel Tips From Touring Bands
By Kiernan Maletsky

A Note on Crap
True art lives where no one is paying attention. Or probably not.
By David Thorpe


COMMENTS:

Top 40 Albums
The year's big albums, from Frank Ocean on down

Top 42 Singles
"Call Me Maybe" kicks off the top of the pops

Pazz & Jop Comments
The who, the what, the where, and the why, why, why

The Top 25 Album Covers
A lovingly hand-assembled gallery

Tabulation Notes
Weak consensus versus inspiring diversity
By Glenn McDonald

Perhaps he possesses some weird form of integrity, perhaps he's a pathological liar, or perhaps he simply thinks the game is silly. Maybe he hasn't given it much thought, though impersonating Gucci Mane 24/7 requires great discipline. But at this point, the question of whether Riff Raff is "serious" is moot—even he probably doesn't know, and were we to find out it would be worse than learning about Santa Claus. We want Riff Raff to be real, and so he is. He certainly stays true to himself, whatever that may be, and that's as strong a hip-hop value as any.

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