Age: 28
Recent Project: Kismet

It's been quiet for Crown Heights rapper eXquire (formerly known as Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire) since his 2011 breakout mixtape Lost In Translation. While he's still looked upon fondly for his "Flava In Ya Ear" homage "The Last Huzzah" featuring equally eccentric rappers Despot, Das Racist, El-P, and Danny Brown, the continually undelivered promise of his follow-up tape, Kismet, cost him a lot of attention.

When it finally dropped back in June, it flew under the radar. But the project is mature and meticulous thanks to eXquire's commitment to crafting revealing rhymes. He raps about his mother's cancer, recent heartbreak, and going sober, but with the narrative precision only someone who name-drops his favorite authors in a verse can achieve. Kismet's sonic textures also help bolster the immersive lyrics. eX may not be buzzing, but it's only because no one's listening. —Claire Lobenfeld

If You Don't Believe Us Listen To: "The Cauldron"