Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire Finds His Post-Huzzah Voice With ‘Kismet’

There is an unnervingly steep escalator at the Broadway Junction subway station in Brooklyn. If you catch yourself thinking about the incline too much, you begin to feel slightly woozy, disoriented and maybe even a little vertiginous. The windows running alongside the escalator are decorated with serenely colorful stained-glass murals, but the station itself, which acts as a transport hub facilitating the Bushwick, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights neighborhoods, usually feels closer to rowdy than merely bustling. It’s a station that’s used by the rapper Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire as an anchor for a point of his life in the song in “Chains” on his new Kismet mixtape.

The reference pops up after he’s rapped one of those bewitching vignettes that seem like the artist has condensed grand swathes of time and geography into a few compact lines: “For years Mandela sat in that cell and couldn’t get no justice / The bougiest of bitches be the quickest to suck dick / Southern comfort, articulate ruffian / Drunk, walking on the platform on Broadway Junction.” After that, eXquire delves into a confessional about demons from his past and insecurities about fulfilling his talent in the future. Then comes a chorus about not being shackled: “You’d think we’d had enough of fuckin’ chains.”

When eXquire zeroes in on Broadway Junction, his words turn captivatingly personal. In a city as monolithic as New York, small references resonate especially warmly. So meeting eXquire in a Bushwick bar while a late-May rainstorm patters off the concrete pavement and mural-emblazoned warehouses outside, I ask him about the station, which is a ten block walk from his old Kingsborough Houses apartment. He says he invoked it as part of a very literal lyric, that he was coming back drunk from a party and waiting for an A train to Utica Avenue. He also wrote his verse on “Chains” while on the train. Then, with some prompting, he tells a grisly anecdote about some of the stranger characters he’s seen at Broadway Junction: “I seen a naked lady one time getting on the train with her maxi-pad hanging out, with the string hanging out her vagina, begging for money. I seen this dude one time, he gets on the train bleeding, fuckin’ his arm is broke and you see his bone protruding, the train’s wobbly and he says, “I have AIDS,” and he’s stumbling. I’m like, “I don’t want that AIDS blood!” That’s two wild stories.” With that, he lets out a blast of his endearingly cartoonish laugh.

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