Since his video for “Huzzah” hit the Internet, Mr. MFN Exquire is receiving the accolades every New York rapper craves, the proclamations that he is revitalizing “New York Rap”. His drunken monkey style lies somewhere between Method Man circa Tical and MF Doom wrestling with the booze ape on his back that left his mask rusted. But these comparisons are purely based on the “Huzzah” video and possibly far from definitive since Exquire has yet to drop his Lost In Translation tape, which he claims was written as a journal to the past few years of his life.
Our conversation was sparked by the inquiry of my whereabouts. When I told him “Sacramento, California” it got us talking about New York hip hop and the stigmas, “That’s crazy. I’m actually surprised. I don’t think like, 'this is New York rap',” he said. “But I also don’t expect people in Sacramento are going to be digging it; people in Atlanta. I’m like, oh shit, Atlanta? Ya’ll don’t like New York rap, you know what I mean? What I realize is people like New York rap. They just don’t like New York rappers. They don’t like the dudes that’s rapping, but they want to actually hear rap from New York.”
I think there’s a bit of an elitism that people sometimes find off-putting about New York rap, like no one else can touch New York rap.
You’re entitled to be wack. (Laughs) I’m from here and I’m telling you that. That’s where there’s a problem. Nobody here likes the rappers here, but they’ll play them on the radio all day, for no reason. But nobody is into that. Everybody is into Lil’ B and Odd Future and shit. But you don’t hear that shit on the radio. It’s weird to me. How do you find yourself not playing what’s popular?
It seems as though the way people are talking about your music has them excited about New York rap again. That’s got to feel good, right?
You graduated from school? I know for me when I graduated I didn’t feel anything. When you think about graduation, you think about this big feeling you’re going to have. But then, when you get your diploma, you don’t feel a thing. It’s just something that’s over. It’s just another day. I’m not really excited about it. I don’t even think about it.
How do you feel about the throwback label and the comparisons that get attached to your music so far?
I don’t know where it comes from. There are a lot of dudes that I know that do throwback New York rap. It’s not really what I do. I’m more of a progressive artist. My experience is singular to me. I grew up listening to that shit, so the foundation is there. But it’s like how Kobe kinda plays like Jordan, but then he doesn’t play like Jordan, you know what I mean? It’s the same thing.
So I guess I kinda got that vibe, but I don’t really have it at all, if that makes sense. I didn’t purposely say, “let’s do it like the 90s, son. The 90s is where it was at.” I do care about it a sense because that’s what made me and inspired me to do this shit. All that shit will shed in time once people get to know me as an artist and as a person. They’ll realize he’s not like that, but he’s still dope.
People are mostly basing this opinion on music you made four years ago and your current hit in “Huzzah”. So will Lost In Translation throw people for a loop?
With that particular album, I might have finished it in like February. That was just me rapping about the past few years of my life. I went through a really rough patch and my therapy was just making music. Whatever I was going through at the time it became directly a record, almost like my journal to an extent.
It’s different because it’s more autobiographical. Sonically from just a beats and melody standpoint it’s way different from anything I’ve ever done. I think people are going to like it, but it’s not going to be what people… People are going to be like, “yo, I thought he was going to do 36 Chambers, son. Where’s Bring Da Ruckus” Where’s “Times Up”, son? He’s not doing that O.C.?” You know what I saying?
Considering you jacked the beat for “Huzzah” is it going to be in that mixtape style?
I hate examples, but I guess I gotta give you one. Remember how 50 Cent used to jack everybody’s single? If the shit is “I’m In Love”, he’d make it like “I Got Slugs”. But he was doing popular shit. I kind of flipped it and did shit that was so obscure that people wouldn’t even know it was somebody else’s song. Just like that Necro shit [for “Huzzah”].
It’s just me jackin’ underground shit that I’ve just liked and loved and grew up on. Then I got a bunch of producers on there too. So it’s half and half. I tried to balance it out and do some actual needle to vinyl.
Were there any complaints from Necro’s camp about jackin’ the beat?
I don’t give a fuck. I didn’t get no cease and desist. I would assume if he’s a rapper, if he’s a hip hop head that he would like it. If he doesn’t like it, I hope he doesn’t like it because he doesn’t like it. I would hate for him to be like, “yo, this is dope, but fuck that. I don’t like it” – just to be hating.
You have a day job?
I don’t have a day job, son. I haven’t had a day job in three years. I had little bullshit jobs like I was a bouncer in a club. That shit was wild.
I worked in a box. You know when you go to parking garages and shit like that? You got the dude that lifts up the little gate arm. I did that shit.
I imagine that has to be the most boring job a person can obtain.
The shit is ridiculous. You’re mad confined in this little box. The company is checking up on you with “no texting.” Fuck, why can’t I text? I’m bagging some pussy for later. I got fired from there. How do you fuck that up?
With the hype around “Huzzah” are you getting any phone call from labels?
I can’t tell you that.
Ok, but what’s your mentality regarding a possible interest considering you had a label tell you four years ago that you’re style “wasn’t in”?
I’m with it. I’m easily bought, son. (Laughs) My goal is to be independent. That’s what I’m working towards. But everybody should want their message to get out to the most people possible. The route you take to get to that point is on you. Look at Tech 9ne for instance. He’s the perfect example of how persistence and being intelligent, you can do your own thing without being on a major label.
Whatever I feel is the best route to get my message to the most people possible, because every artist should have a message, I’m going to take that route. But it gotta make sense financially and from a security standpoint, even more than just money. But I’m not even thinking about that now. I’m trying more to establish myself.
What team are you picking on NBA Jam?
Oh, I don’t play NBA Jam. I play NBA 2K11. I’m picking the Heat. The Heat are the best team in the fucking world. I’m a Knicks fan, but I love LeBron [James]. Plus the Knicks they garbage in the game. They don’t get their respect in video games.
I love the Heat. I don’t get the hate. Ok, I kinda get how [people] don’t like LeBron. He’s an asshole, you know what I mean. Don’t get it twisted that’s my favorite basketball player. So I’m a Heat fan – in the game. In real life I’m a Knicks fan.
How you feeling about the front office’s attempt to revitalize that team?
Yo, honestly it was typical Knicks shit. They are acting like The Yankees and trying to buy a winning team. You can’t do that in basketball. I see the point in [Carmelo Anthony] coming, but I don’t even know if they necessarily needed Melo. I love Melo, but they traded away a lot of shit just for Melo. Now with the CBA issue, you don’t even know what your money is going to look like to put a team around him. If one of these dudes get hurt we are back to square one.
From your twitter I gathered that you enjoy tripping on mushrooms. What do you enjoy most about that experience?
You think when you eat mushrooms and shit that it’s going to be psychedelic, but the wild shit is you’re really not like that. I more-so think. I just write rhymes on mushrooms because your brain is so open. You just get deep as shit.
I might just do a mushroom mixtape and record every song on mushrooms.
Onyx’s Bacdafucup was recorded on mushrooms.
Say word? They don’t seem like mushroom eating kind of guys. I could see them doing coke and shit. Wow, I didn’t even know that.
Well I’m in favor of a mushroom-induced mixtape.