New York’s New School Rap: A Yearbook
Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire,
Lost in Translation
eXquire seems content with the shabby lifestyle he currently finds himself enjoying (knocking back bottles of Georgi, hitting the chicken spot) and the lowbrow culture clouding his brain (C-list eighties movie star Michael Dudikoff, Jim Carrey’s In Living Color character Fire Marshall Bill). He can be tender, too. On “I Should Be Sleepin’, ” he takes us back to the days of sneaking in his pajamas into the kitchen for late-night cookies and milk.
This collection strips Lil B and Soulja Boy’s verses from Clams’ beats and, seeing as they function perfectly well on their own, lets you home right in on their structural soundness. No East Coast boom-bap here: This is fragmented, frothy goodness, with any dip and dives—record skips, bell tinkles, bird whistles—almost always falling back into unostentatiously pretty loops. The airy focus of “Motivation” is perfect for drinking three beers real fast and then zoning out while riding the bus.
AraabMuzik, Electronic Dream
Most tracks are stamped with his trademark “You are now listening to AraabMuzik, but the reminder is unnecessary. Who else is skipping from bashed-in horror-movie thrills to calculatedly cheesy Europop and whatever trance jams the kids are rocking in Ibiza tonight? The blissed- out “Streetz Tonight” could have been swapped in for College and Electric Youth’s “A Real Hero” as accompaniment for Ryan Gosling’s ennui on the Drive soundtrack.
ASAP Rocky, LiveLoveASAP
“I be that pretty motherfucker,” Rocky tells us by way of kicking off his Hot97 hit “Peso,” and it doesn’t really matter if the specifics of the statement are true. He’s got enough swagger to convince us. On his new mixtape, Rocky furthers the established persona, shouting out his French braids and his Raf Simons, often over punchy new Clams beats and in between chopped and screwed choruses. In his words: “A weirdo / but I’m rare, tho.”