Tomorrow (June 4), Mr. MFN eXquire will deliver his second project since inking a major label deal with Universal Republic – the highly anticipated “Kismet” mixtape. On Thursday (May 30) the NYC rap wunderkind hosted an intimate playback at Engine Room Audio, deep in the belly of downtown Manhattan. While eX is still tailoring his major label suit, his first real listening event felt more like a gathering of friends than a stuffy studio session where the press plays voyeurs to an artist at work. Clad in an NYU track jersey, shorts, and a grey knit cap, the rapper formerly known as Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire sat amongst his guests and offered up 15 tracks that ran the gamut of emotions he was feeling during the time he recorded the project. While “Kismet” is clearly an evolution of Mr. MFN eXquire as an artist, he explains it’s the “progression of a man first.”
The opener “The Cauldron” sets the partial tone of the project, as eX ruminates over recent events in his life – from his mom being diagnosed with cancer to feelings of sacrificing his soul as fame looms overhead. “See I’m forgetting who I am or I plan to be,” he says over the blips of newcomer Kenyatta’s production. The fear of losing himself remains prevalent, even in songs like the Star King produced “I Was Drunk When I Wrote This” where eX admits, “Dollars kill my bleeding heart / I wrote this song to free my thoughts.” It’s not all about self-actualization though.
If there was ever such a thing as playfully objectifying women, then Mr. MFN eXquire has mastered that. The interlude “She’s Not Fucking With Me” is 30 seconds of eX being turned down for oral sex, while “Cherry Raindrops” follows – a sonic vignette about wooing a girl at the start and leading up to “close your eyes, spread your thighs” by the end. Even eX’s younger brother Cokie Briccz gets in on the action for the closer “eXXX Studio” alongside Goldie Glo, telling the tale of groupie love at the studio.
“Kismet” primarily features pals from around eX’s way, with the exception of a few tracks including the dark “Tomorrow’s Gone” with Danny Brown, Nacho Picasso, and Flatbush Zombies. The track harbors a haunting slightly off-kilter beat from SickSentz as each rapper delivers his own chapter to the horror story like it’s the return of the Gravediggaz or Flatlinerz.
“Illest Ni–az Breathin’,” premiered on The Juice, had the crowd all ears, with eX explaining the sample that never cleared was from “Lord Of the Rings,” preventing it from being his official single. The project has several “would be” singles, like the cinematic “Paper Hearts” where eX rhymes in a pattern similar to 50 Cent on Jeremih’s “Down On Me” to the tune of sped up samples. Despite the fact that “Kismet” could arguably be Mr. MFN eXquire’s debut album on Universal, he will probably have even more fodder come the actual album’s time.
While a considerable amount of those in attendance on Thursday already heard “Kismet” and loved it, the greater population of Hip-Hop fans will probably share that same sentiment.