If nothing else, the last year has been validation for the Def Jukies that resented the post-2004 media misrepresentation that they were nothing more than arrhythmic spaceship rappers with a Thesaurus. Between Can Ox and Camu Tao, they held down the cool black nerd template throughout most of the last decade, despite most critics treating them with the respect that a cop killer deserved. There is no other way to explain Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, he of the drunk crane rap style and BK heritage. Inspirations include Camu Tao and Def Jux, evident in his Tweet yesterday that “I got my entire vision from Def Jux, and Camu Tao is my fucking idol. I can’t say enough.”
Or Nocando and Danny Brown, both of whom memorized most of None Shall Pass, and put me up on eXquire along with Blockhead, who pointed out that the video for “Huzzah,” is reminiscent of the 90s when people could be tough and strange.” Strange, yes. The song is named after a celebratory cry that people say at Renaissance Faire’s, and the beat is produced by Odd Future founder, Necro. Of course, eXquire was raised in Brooklyn, so influences presumably include the usual suspects: the Iron Lung, Dr. Dooom, the ODB. But I’d imagine that 40 bottles, blunt wraps, and hood sex tapes are probably the most legitimate inspirations.
What’s cool about eXquire and by extension the other rappers named in the first part of the post, is that they’re not trying to promote one-dimensional thug archetypes. They have Tumblrs and Sci-Fi collections and probably used to read comic books. Nor are they trying to sell themselves as movements or memes or the voice of youth. eXquire draw upon the same roots as the Wu, whereas the last decade of New York rap felt like it was made by dudes who couldn’t get their style out of 98 or ripping off 50, or were shamelessly trying to recreate “This is Why I’m Hot.” “Huzzah” sounds like he sprang fully formed from the toilet on the cover of the “Hip Hop Drunkies,” single. Or that he sipped Coronas with the Beanuts in Corona Queens. So I will drink to drunk driving on a Wednesday (no Jackass).