From the music to the clothing, Camden has always been an area of London most traditionally linked with all things rock 'n' roll. However, a recent onslaught of hip hop shows popping off in the area (including performances from Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky – who claims Camden as his favourite part of the city) are going someway toward changing the scenery. On Saturday night, US export RiFF RaFF did his part to help the cause.
Playing to a packed out Camden Barfly, RiFF opened his performance with songs like 'Sleepless in Seattle' and had the crowd going wild from the get-go. RiFF lapped up the audience's energy as it built with every track, and with a crowd made up of people out for a good time and die-hard fans, the excitement ran high from start to finish. His die-hard fans lived up to their name throughout the performance - most notably in the form of a shirtless, moustache-boasting fellow who ran up on stage to present the rapper with a homemade fanzine filled with pages of hand-drawn images depicting the rapper in a variety of poses and scenarios.
The show was a constant sea of iPhone flashes with everyone trying to get a photo of the rap phenomenon, leading to RiFF pausing mid-set to openly pose for an Instagram shot. Seeing him in the flesh it became clear that the YouTube videos which made him famous only managed to project half of his charisma – with his MTV RiFF RaFF chain and penguin ruby finger rings, the man's stage presence was enough to make anyone's girl scream.
Notable highlights from the set included 'Stacey's Secret Room' and 'Marc Jacobs', the performances of which made it clear to see that this viral rapper is set for big things. He seemed very relaxed, composed and confident in his performance, repeatedly becoming lost in his own lyrical fairy tales and continuing to freestyle after some tracks had come to an end. In short, RiFF RaFF's performance was nothing short of brilliant. He played a slew of hits and ending with a personal favourite, 'Cuz My Gear', which the crowd roared back at him, word-for-word. Having recently signed to Diplo's label, RiFF is quickly becoming an unstoppable force in the rap game and we have no doubt that we'll see Highroller on our shores again, very soon.
Words by Shawn Correia