RiFF RAFF (aka Jody Highroller) preludes WWE debut in Toronto (Live Review) [Photos]
Toronto, ON – Last weekend, RiFF RAFF aka Jody HighRoller graced the stage at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall in all of his Monster energy drink-sponsored glory.
I was excited to see his performance, because I’m a big RiFF RAFF fan, I think that he’s hilarious, I was thoroughly entertained by my interview with him a couple of years ago, but never had the opportunity to see him onstage.
When I first walked into the venue, I realized that Jody’s fan base was the second most eclectic, diverse and seemingly random collective of individuals that I had ever seen at a concert, after Die Antwoord’s fan base. [More]
The packed crowd was filled with goths, hip-hop heads, EDM junkies, hipsters and everyone in between, all of whom seemed unified by their love and respect of the Neon Icon.
As I made my way to the media pit, the resounding cheer of “Jody” was impossible to ignore and it was clear that his fans could barely contain their anticipation for what would undoubtedly be one of the most absurdly remarkable performances that I had ever witnessed.
In fact, a couple of drunk fans somehow made their way past security and into the media pit and promptly began telling me how awesome the concert was going to be. In their excitement, they failed to realize that they should have at least pretended to be journalists and they were swiftly escorted back into general population.
Soon after, RiFF RAFF’s DJ made his way to the stage, wearing a neon pink and yellow hockey mask while turning up behind a row of Monster energy drinks.
After about fifteen minutes of hyping the crowd up, the Danforth Music Hall’s lights cut out to reveal the glow in the dark set on stage and RiFF RAFF proceeded to make his entrance, resembling a deranged Ultimate Warrior poised for the WWE championship belt.
Leading up to last weekend’s performance, RiFF had been covered by a number well-known publications including, but not limited to Noisey, XXL and TMZ, due to his recent muscle gain and partnership with none other than Hulk Hogan.
Keeping that in mind and comparing him to my first encounter with him, RiFF looked huge (and no less than thirty pounds heavier than he was in 2013). Regardless of his huskier appearance, he clearly retained the hilarious and surreal persona that has made him into a household name to North American millennials.
Flanked by a glow in the dark dancer that carried a giant poster of Miley Cyrus, RiFF proceeded to rap with the vigor of a young Shawn Michaels, taking the crowd through a musical journey of codeine metaphors and diamond references.
At one point, his DJ brought three large pizzas on stage and the two of them began throwing slices into the crowd, in between taking shots of Ciroc.
Other amazing moments from his performance included a D cup bra being thrown on stage, Riff’s live rendition of “Air Canada” – a tribute to the great white north, as well as the fact that he reminded the crowd of his OVO affiliation by referring to himself as OVO Jody.
RiFF RAFF’s performance seemed surreal and made me feel quite high, despite the fact that I was completely sober. It was more than apparent that he is one of hip-hop’s most ingenious performers, simply based on the novelty of his persona, his hilarious antics, the unique publicity that he has acquired and the fact that many of his records (like “Break Away”) are musically impressive.
The bottom line is that Jody HighRoller’s capacities as an actor are profound and I truly believe that he has lost his true identity by unceasingly staying in character for the last four years.
With that said, if you love comedy, trap music and pizza, be sure to buy a ticket to RiFF RAFF’s next live performance and also tune into his upcoming WWE debut. You won’t be disappointed.
Photography and words by Ajani Charles for HipHopCanada
Photography by Ajani Charles
Click photos to enlarge