Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire could not possibly care less about what you think. While his chosen name - featuring a capital X that he says is a dedication to DMX - should immediately tell you that, he’s spent the last eight years reassuring anyone who might be on the fence. Through his music, his style, and general attitude, eXquire has been infusing hip-hop with his raw, punk-inspired essence.
Five years ago, Mr. MFN's breakout project Lost In Translation was recklessly flung into the hip-hop ether, offering a refreshing variant on the current New York City underground hip-hop scene. The tape featured production from East Coast underground staples El-P and Esoteric and housed his first breakout single “Huzzah,” which received a posse-cut-of-the-year worthy remix from Despot, Das Racist, Danny Brown and El-P.
From the jarring, Slim Shady-esque cover art to the unbridled, drug and alcohol-soaked braggadocio within the project itself, Lost In Translation was a bold, experimental statement of nonconformity. The description of the project itself on Bandcamp is as good an ode to the potency of the tape as I could craft:
With production from cats like El-P and Necro the album knocks pretty hard while eXquire lays out tales of waging a war of attrition with his liver, fucking horrible women, pissing in between subway cars, staying up way too late and eating at off brand chicken places. If that doesn’t encapsulate the life of mad heads in NYC then we’ve finally lost the war against Guilliani’s Disneyfication of the city.
In 2012, eXquire inked a deal with Republic and released his Power & Passion EP through the label, which was critiqued by some as a digression from his potential. A subsequent string of mixtape releases, however, produced an increasingly experimentally focused catalog with highlights such as Merry eXmas & SMD 2, Kismet, and his most recent releases Live From The Danger Room - which shared the spotlight with members of his Passion clique - and another official EP, Live Forever. eXquire’s catalog contains a brilliant re-imagining of early to mid-90s New York street hip-hop, spiked with equal doses of punk-inspired nihilism and esoteric musings.
That time period also produced another of eXquire’s breakout moments in the form of his single “I Ain't Even Fuck Rihanna bka One For Lime-A-Rita Papi,” which detailed his signing and subsequent release from Republic.
My stupid ass sold his soul / and didn't even get the fame / I ain't even fuck Rihanna.
The song itself is a microcosm of eXquire’s occasionally excellent use of imagery to openly portray the trials of an artist who is far from being done battling both his internal demons and those within the music industry while maintaining a near-sadistic sense of humor the entire time.
At the moment Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire is back to being an independent artist and recently has been teasing a new full-length album, Black Genius. With a recent placement on the Rubble Kings soundtrack alongside Ghostface Killah and Boldy James, eXquire is in the perfect position to release another underground classic like Lost In Translation, one that will hopefully launch him into the next level of hip-hop stardom.
The saga of eXquire is far from over.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: GL Askew II for NPR