In early 2012, the Brooklyn rapper Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, on the strength of his underground hit “Huzzah” and his Lost In Translation mixtape, signed an unlikely deal with Universal Republic — this, even though he had the word “Muthafuckin’” in his name. EXquire only released one EP on Universal — Power & Passion, which he now calls “disgusting” — and he was dropped from the label late last year. In an interesting new Rolling Stone profile, eXquire talks about the stress of a label deal, trying to record music that the label types would like and not being able to. But the most poignant parts of the piece are the ones where he talks about turning himself into a caricature for mostly-white audiences.
“Huzzah,” and its posse-cut remix, depicted eXquire as a sort of strip-club demon, an out-of-control libertine who drunk-drives to orgies. But he’d play shows for mostly-white audiences, and they would leave him wondering what he was doing. Here’s what he says about it now:
I’d be onstage and I’d feel like a parody. I think I went through my Dave Chappelle moment, where I was like, ’I don’t know if they’re laughing with me or they’re laughing at me. Like, I’m up here trying to say some shit! But people just wrote me off as a novelty… I had to rebel against that corny shit. As big as “Huzzah” was, people from where I’m from didn’t like it. They always hated me for that song. They felt like I sold out. They felt like, “Oh, you did a song for hipsters and shit, but you ain’t do a song that represented where you was from.” That was hard for me. It split who I was.
He tried to go a more conscious-rap direction on his recent mixtape Kismet, and now he feels like that was the wrong move, too. But the profile ends with eXquire working on new music constantly and figuring out how to balance the different sides of his persona. You can read the whole thing here.