©2014 VICE Media LLC

    The VICE Channels

      Mr. MFN eXquire: The Baddest Motherfucker in Rap

      November 5, 2012

      By Kathy Iandoli

      Calling Mr. MFN eXquire and politely asking, “Hi! Is this Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire?” when he dropped the “Muthafuckin’” is like selling Girl Scout cookies to Sharon Tate’s home back in the Summer of ‘69. He dropped the “Muthafuckin’” around the time of his major label deal, but one has nothing to do with the other. X had the whole block shouting “Huzzah!” last year, and now he returns with his Power & Passion EP. People assume with a formerly profane name and completely profane lyrics that X would be a total douche. He’s actually quite the opposite; probably one of the nicest guys currently in Hip-Hop. He could also care less about fame or what people think of him. Mr. MFN eXquire took a few to talk about his name change, career, and Blaxploitation films, all shortly after rescuing his mom from her home during Hurricane Sandy. What the hell have you done with your day?

      VICE: So what's the situation with your name?
      Mr. MFN eXquire: Um, I don't know. I just felt like I did the “Muthafuckin'” thing already. It was time to change it. Like, you don't keep it forever. You gotta grow up a little bit, can't keep doing the same shit forever. It's corny.
       
      Do you think it makes you more commercially friendly?
      Nah, I don't really care about shit like that. I don't give a fuck about it. People blow my name out of proportion in the first place. It's just a word! Bigger than that, I just feel like it's long anyway. People think like, “Oh, he got a record deal so he changed it!” I will fucking fax you a copy of my record contract and that shit says “Mr. Muthafuckin'”—in bold print—“eXquire” on it. They didn't care about my name. There’s a Rock group called Holy Fuck! Like, they don't care. I felt like people shadow on the “Muthafuckin'” too much. Like, “oh Muthafuckin'!” and they just go off of that. My mother don't call me Muthafuckin'! My niggas, everybody don't call me Muthafuckin'. That's why I told you, “Call me X.” Same meaning, different spelling. That's all.
       
      Makes sense.
      Yeah.
       
      Are you excited for your EP release?
      Um, nah, not really. No [laughs]. I know I'm supposed to be like, “Yeah!” and promote the album and shit but I'm not really that type of person. I have a weird space I feel like I'm in where, I'm not really underground and I'm really not commercial. So I don't know where I'm supposed to fit in. I'm excited to see what people think about it, but am I excited for it coming out? I don't care about none of that stuff. The pageantry I could do without.
       
      You've got so many dickriders right now, you could probably be really extra about everything and you sound like you're like, “Eh.”
      Yeah, I'm not like that! I don't really care. I've never been cool. Like, this chick told me the other day, “I'm not cool like you!” I'm like, “I'm cool? People think I'm cool?” That's such a foreign concept to me, being cool. So, I don't even think about it like that because I'm just so used to not being cool. Like if I go to a party, I'm just like, “Alright, I'm not going to VIP. I'ma just sit over here by the bar, I'ma drink some drinks and hang out with my boys.” I'm not like, “Oh, let's go to VIP and pop bottles! We got money now!” Nah, I'm not even like that. I don't have that gene, man.
       
       
      So what were you like as a kid? Were you like weird/awesome or weird/creepy?
      Uh, honestly like, I'd just read like comic books and shit. When I was little I used to sit in the house, read comics and draw and write poetry. Niggas like me wasn't cool where I'm from. I'm from the hood! My best friend was selling drugs when he was ten!
       
      Oh my God.
      No serious, like seriously. He was! So me, I was always like a nerd. I became mean because I had to build a defense mechanism because you got to have one. You're going to get fucked with, but that's just out of necessity. But me personally, I prefer to like, I don't know, sit in the crib and watch Blaxploitation movies and shit with my people. I'm not what people think I am. I hate that. When people meet me, they'll be like, they're waiting for it and I'm like, “Dude, I ain't really like that fam.”
       
      Over the past year and some change, it seems like your notoriety has gone crazy. What do you think was that moment that made you blow up?
      When we did the “Huzzah!” video, I just think it was really different at the time. Everybody in New York was trying to just portray a lifestyle that nobody was living, and people didn't dig it. So I did that video... I remember the date, December 15, 2010. We’re in the crib, we’re in here watching football, we drink 40's. I think people just dug it. I don't know, like that shit is regular, natural human being shit. Not like oh, we in the club, we have minks and we can fly and we have hovercrafts. We just kept it real and I think people related to that. I just think it all escalated. I don't think people expected me to be as diverse as I am or as intelligent as I am? So I think that's what made it spin crazy on the wheels. Just like, “Wow, this dude is kind of different. He's interesting.” So, I don't know man. I think the timing was right, and now you see 100 rappers from Brooklyn. You see 100 rappers from New York. Everybody got a 40 now, but I don't mind. You could steal it. It's cool.
       
      Well being a rapper from Bed-Stuy, people were expecting you to sound just like Biggie or something.
      I probably sound a little like Biggie. I ain't gonna lie. I mean, I could see where people get certain shit from. I could see all the comparisons, I understand though. People were going to do that. Nobody wants you to be the first you. They just want to be able to compare you to something that they know, because that's easier. So, I don't mind that type of shit.
       
      It seems obvious by your sound that you didn’t just listen to Hip-Hop. What other stuff did you check out when you were younger?
      Aw man, I love so many different types of music. One of my favorite things to listen to, I used to listen to the Mars Volta all the time. That really influenced my album a lot.
       
      Really?
      Yea, I love the Mars Volta. Oh my god, are you serious?
       
       
      That makes sense now that you say that!
      Yeah, and Glass Jaw. I listen to a lot of Glass Jaw. El-P of course. Dude's from my hood, I listened to El-P. And who else? Like all old 70's shit. Like a lot of Funkadelic, Eddie Hazel, Johnny “Guitar” Watson. That's why you hear me sing and do all types of weird shit because I just try to be like them dudes. They were bigger than musicians to me, like Rick James is bigger than a musician to me. I don't want to just be a rapper. I want to be something that's all to itself and when I die, there could never be another me.
       
      You could be a real jerk right now, but you seem really nice.
      I could, I could. I know a few rap niggas that's jerks right now. They do all types of jerkish shit to women and all that sucka shit, but I don't know. You got to be a man before you do anything, so that's just not in my character. I'm a man first, then I'll be a rapper and all that shit. You can't let the hype get to you because we ain't did shit yet! None of us! Like, all the new rappers everybody talks about! I'm not going to name nobody but whoever! I remember when everybody talked about Mickey Factz all day. I remember when everybody talked about Charles Hamilton. I remember when everybody talked about all them dudes, and where they at now? Working again, trying to rap again, trying to make it from the bottom again. So you don't take this spot for granted. You work your ass off, and you just be humble and treat everybody nicely, and you hope that you're here tomorrow. That's what I do. But some people think they got it, or dude's be gassed at their own hype, because a lot of these niggas is not even that talented really. They just have good timing. You can print that too, I don't care.
       
      Because you know you're right.
      Yeah, just good timing. That's all. Yeah, they’re not that good.
       
      Is it weird giving control to a major label when you came from a DIY place?
      It's weird, but I think the thing about it is you’ve got to be prepared to let a little bit go. And at first I wasn't. I just wasn't prepared to have all these people in my kitchen. Like, if you have a boyfriend...I don't know if you have a boyfriend, but, let's pretend that you don't. So you meet a new guy, you go out to a bar, he comes over. You're going to cook for him, right? But you don't want him sitting there when you're cooking! That's like having a record deal. Like before I was single but now I'm like, I got a girlfriend now, and she's in the house when I cook! So I had to get adjusted to her sitting there watching me cook. And that's been my year basically: getting adjusted to people watching me cook my meal, as opposed to me just having it ready when they get there.
       
      Have you gotten to any point like, “Stop fucking staring at me while I'm cooking?"
      Oh, all the time! Or I'll try to not really cook behind them. Yeah, they're on your ass though. They're a record label for a reason. They don't play. At the same time, it's funny to me. I just look at it like, oh ok! That's what A Tribe Called Quest was rapping about! Like, record industry dudes are shady, for real. But I don't know man. I go through my frustrating periods with them, where I'm like, “You know what? I'm just going to go get a job!” Then I go through my periods where I love them when they do something good for me. They get me some money and I feel good so, I don't know. I got to wait like a year from now to see how I really feel about it. After the album is out, and after I did Carson Daly or whoever the fuck they're going to have me do and shit like that. Then we'll see. Ask me how I feel about it then.
       
      Have you found that the internet thugs have been let loose on you?
      I don't even know. I don't have a computer.
       
      Are you serious?
      Nah, I don't own a computer.
       
       
      That's amazing!
      I don't own a computer, I don't really deal with computery things. Like, I let people do that. If it was up to me, I wouldn't even tweet. My manager makes me tweet, like literally like, “Yo, you have to tweet!” I wouldn't tweet, I wouldn't even have the Twitter app on my iPhone. I don't have Facebook and shit like that. I don't believe in that stuff. I think it just makes people jaded and like, desensitizes you. I don't like that shit man.
       
      So do you like hipsters or do you hate hipsters?
      Um, I don't hate anybody.
       
      Well, you know what I mean.
      Yeah I know what you mean, I'm just being political [laughs]. You know how I feel about just people in general? People are going to just melt together where they feel cool. Like alright, people that like basketball hang out with people that like basketball and all the people who can't do the regular shit or they want to disdain the regular shit, they become hipsters. Like, “Oh yeah, I don't do that because it's boring. I drink whole milk,” and all that weird shit. So like, I don't know if I hate them. I don't know, I don't know. I guess I do, yeah.
       
      Do they come up to you at your shows holding their PBR’s talking about, “Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, bro!”
      Yeah, “What up BRO!” All that dumb shit. But nah I mean, it is love and I can never be mad at love. However it comes, wherever it comes from, it's love! I love love. Love is cool.
       
      Who did your cover art? It’s crazy.
      It's my man L’Amour Supreme, who's really like a close a friend of mine. He does a lot of designing for Mishka. We had a conversation, and I was explaining to him what I wanted it to look like and we built on it. The elephant in the middle—that represents the Ganesha, which is the Indian god. It clears obstacles out of your path. Basically, it's supposed to represent me, and he's writing rhymes on the cover because it represents what turned my life around, what changed my life, and what cleared all of my obstacles out of my path. The buildings—I got my own building drawn there—that building was like breaking apart. The pyramid being built symbolizes a new beginning for myself and just taking the things that I used to have and turning them into something new. Because I feel like that's what I did. And L’Amour Supreme did it, my homeboy.
       
      What were some of the critiques that you took into consideration while doing this new project?
      A lady friend of mine, she told me, she said, “Your music doesn't do you justice.” That's what she told me. So I wanted to make my music reflect who I was. I feel like my music is very personal, but I actually feel like I hide a lot behind it. That's another reason I shortened my name, because I feel like I hid a lot behind that “Muthafuckin” part. I didn't want to be a character. I didn't want to become a musician and then have to play me. I just felt like I wanted to breathe a little bit more on this album instead of always trying to have this armor up and this shield up around myself.
       
       
      So you mentioned that when you were younger, you were watching a lot of Blaxploitation films. What was one of your favorites?
      My favorite is well, I don't know if this is really a Blaxploitation film. J.D.'s Revenge, it got the dude...I forget his name right now. He played the dean on A Different World. He played in The Wire too. He was the mayor on The Wire. The Black dude.
       
      Glynn Turman!
      Yup, he played like this college student, and he went to this club and they were doing hypnotism and he gets hypnotized. And the spirit of an old gangster jumps in his body and he becomes like, schizophrenic and he beats his girl up and he's trying to get revenge. The shit is wild. It's on Netflix, yo. Word up!
       
      That's amazing, and you dropped a Different World reference. How old are you?
      Me, I'm 27. People think I'm way younger than I am but I'm 27. You gotta realize, I lived a life before I was a rapper. I had jobs, I was engaged, I did all that shit. I don't give a fuck about groupies and shit. So it's different for me because I'm older. I'm old enough to know better at this point in my life.
       
      Wow, so you said you were engaged?
      Eh, something like that. Something like. It was getting there, but it ain't work out. I don't want to talk about it [laughs].
       
      I'm sure she's pissed off now...
      Oh yeah! She's kind of pissed off and shit. I mean, she don't talk to me. She moved to Chicago and then I was on the cover of The Chicago Tribune and she saw that. Then she moved back to New York and then I was on the cover of The NY Times’ music section, and she saw that too. She hit me like, “I just can't escape you!” I said, “Nope, never! You gon' have to live with that forever!”
       
      That's called revenge!
      Ain't it? It's the sweetest dish ever, oh my God! [laughs] I love that shit. I love it.
       
      Photos by Nicole "Colee" Smith and Edwina Hay
       
       

      Comments