The Cosmic Adventures of Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire
All photos by Jess Lehrman
The first thing Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire does is show me a painting. It’s the first he’s ever done, and frankly, it looks like shit. I ask him why he brought it with him to the VICE offices, and he explains that he’d done it that morning while a painter friend was making him breakfast. It features a purple blob that kind of looks like a tree in the center, with a yellow stick figure to its right. The whole shebang is accented by a rash of formless squiggles. “I’m King Cosmic,” he explains, pointing to the stick figure holding a shield and a spear. “This is me depicted as a Zulu warrior. I’ve got feathers in my head. I’m golden.” The purple thing? “This is the vortex of my emotions. I’m gonna give it to my mother.” He smiles.
My interview with the linebacker-esque eXquire has been set up with the express purpose of talking about his sense of fashion, so I ask him why he wears the clothes he does. “I don’t know if I choose clothes. Clothes choose me. I feel like clothing should be an extension of your philosophy on life—I should be able to look at you and tell what type of person you are based off your clothing.” This leads away from sartorial matters and into more broad, philosophical ones. “I feel like life and the universe itself, is like a ripple. You might not feel it, you might not see it, but as small as your idea or thought might be, it’s going to affect somebody. There’s no direct correlation between people, but I feel like we all exist in this pool. The universe just is. It is and it isn’t.” I ask him if he considers himself a hippie. “Nah, not really. Hippies are more peaceful than me. I just say I’m cosmic.” This is not the same dude you’d associate with that one song about drunk driving on a Wednesday. That’s the thing, though. He’s not that guy at all.
Later that week, eXquire and I are in a Lower Manhattan studio, talking about his life and the events that led to his upcoming mixtape Kismet. We’re eating cookies—Chips Ahoy Chewy, his favorite—and I notice that a picture of the painting he showed me days ago is now the background of his iPhone. Equal parts spacey, soulful, paranoid, isolated, and insular, Kismet’s sound reflects the circumstances under which it was created. The majority of the record was recorded on a farm in Woodstock, New York, while eXquire was under the influence of psychedelic mushrooms, which he took in order to view the music from a different angle. He speaks fondly of the sessions, describing them as such: “Get up, cook, do drugs, make songs, go play with the llama.” The record’s cover pretty much says it all—standing in front of some sort of galactic formulation, eXquire stares at the camera, almost into your soul, while in the act of fucking somebody.