Exclusive: RiFF RAFF Wants to Be the 'EDM Justin Bieber'

Dan Monick


RiFF RAFF is going EDM.

The eccentric Houston rapper confirms with Billboard that he'll be joining Golden Hare Management Group, home to rising tropical house artists Kygo and Thomas Jack.

After meeting Kygo, Jack and manager Myles Shear at Mad Decent Boat Party over the weekend, the 32-year old viral star elected to take a management plunge into dance music. (Editor's note: At press time, RiFF RAFF had not yet officially signed with Golden Hare.)

Mad Decent Boat Party Highlights: Skrillex's Surprise, Dillion Francis' Alter Ego & More

"My first impression of RiFF RAFF was probably similar to most, but when we really got some time to spend together, I really got to understand his vision and how wonderful of a job he has done maintaining his brand," Shear tells Billboard. "He already is a dance act, and he could really do anything. That's how creative he is."

The move marks RiFF RAFF's latest and most significant flirtation with EDM. He previously signed with Diplo's Mad Decent label in 2012, where he released his sophomore album Neon Icon in June.

Billboard caught up with the outlandish MC on Nov. 19, before his show in Alabama, to talk about his recent move as only he can.

What drew you to the dance music scene?
"I never claimed to be a gangster rapper or a hip-hop artist. I think that's where people get confused and question my style, which they have never seen. The reality is that I'm the first and only EDM rapper to ever exist. I'm not a cross over artist, I wasn't a pop artist at first or in a gang, and I was never in a group, I'm the first and only EDM rapper of all time. I wear neon swim trunks and muscle shirts and have neon magenta colored hair, and have over 1.3 million dollars in real diamonds and I stay away from the haters. How could anyone confuse me for a hip-hop artist?

How did you originally meet Diplo and get signed to Mad Decent?
We've been friends for over 10 years. I'm the neon godfather of his kids. He pays me $70,000 a year to train his kids neon jujitsu.

What do you view your own role as within dance music?
I'm not yet a DJ, but I'm an artist so anything is possible. This is the lane I'm in, and I wouldn't want to be in the rapper market. It doesn't appear fun to me, and there are a lot of mean people in the world. I try to stay away from anything that doesn't pay my $20,000 an hour.

How did that motivate you to join the Golden Hare Group?
I meet these young crazy motivated dudes on the Mad Decent Boat Party, and they seemed to have more of a worldwide approach to music, rather than a USA target market. I want to be the EDM Justin Bieber. I'm Jody Bieber and humans aren't gonna understand that until I have 15 super hot neon models with the loudest and craziest EDM trap neon rap set on the planet, playing in Dubai or at the Taj Mahal. But I'm still growing and learning, and I will never plateau. I think everyone sees that, so I can't wait to join the WWE and be in movies as well.