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The Nightingale Movie Review

Brutal 'Nightingale' Worth Listening To

Be wary of "The Nightingale," a powerful new movie worth seeking out should you choose to do so. It's a brutal and deeply upsetting film at almost every turn, but director Jennifer Kent ("The Babadook") handles the film's unsettling moments with purpose and conviction. Even so, be warned before entering the film.
Set in colonial Australia in 1825, Clare (Aisling Franciosi) has been enslaved by British commander Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin) for seven years. She is treated as a servant by Hawkins and his men, serving them food and drinks and being subjected to their crude comments and gestures. She is referred to as a nightingale because she serenades them on command as they sit around and get drunk.

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Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire - Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire Music Album Reviews

Eight years after “Huzzah,” the Brooklyn rapper is back on his own label, back on his own terms, and just as defiant and provocative as ever.

“Huzzah!” This was the triumphant cry Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire rode to viral success in 2011. The Brooklyn-raised rapper broke through with an outlandish attitude and fluid flow, bragging about downing half a gallon of budget vodka over an eerily funky beat sourced from underground gore master Necro. A remix to “Huzzah!” roped in Das Racist, Despot, Danny Brown, and El-P, boosting eXquire’s profile even further. He signed to Universal records. The major label platform didn’t work out for the uncompromisingly creative rapper—pretty much to no one’s surprise. As he rhymed after leaving the label, “When I came, niggas said I was just 40s and orgies/Took all the deep shit I rhymed about and ignored it... My stupid ass sold his soul and didn't even get the fame—I ain't even fuck Rihanna.” Eight years later, eXquire finds himself back where he started, self-releasing music entirely on his own terms via his Chocolate Rabbit enterprise. The move feels full circle, like the welcome reclaiming of his soul.


eXquire's self-titled album starts in fiery fashion with “FCK Boy!” Over a lo-fi track that sounds like a no-budget Italian horror movie blasting from a dying television, eXquire gets right to the rabble-rousing: “R. Kelly can rot in hell, but his music too good to mute/Oops!/Telling me no more ‘Ignition’ while I'm dancing/But then I'm ‘posed to stand for the fucking national anthem?" Next, he’s alluding to reparations and a "Gucci fabric noose” and adding, "Fuck Prada, Burberry, fuck Louis Vuitton too/They ain’t do nothing racist but that's just in case they do.”

The tirade is eXquire in capsule form, erudite and profane, delivering pop culture and politics in a spellbinding, seamless flow. As much as he channels no-fucks-given icons of bygone eras like Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Eazy-E, and Willie D—and Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire gleefully hits Efil4zaggin levels of expletives—his lyrics have always offered savvy political commentary and catharsis for those prepared to hear it. On the slinky piano of “Nosediiive,” eXquire namechecks Abbie Hoffman and updates his philosophies for a world of surveillance capitalism, where corporations are “pulling our privacy from under our feet.” “SpankBang favorites and Amazon wish lists/Algorithm trigger words, they put me on their hit list,” he raps.

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Balancing the politics are eXquire’s reflections on self-doubt and depression. On “RumbleFish,” over a hazy funk beat by long-time foil CONSTROBUZ, eXquire flashes back to being a 12-year-old kid in the projects, retreating behind comic book fantasies and watching his mom in a physically abusive relationship with a man who’d go on to kill his next girlfriend. Despite the heavy subject matter, eXquire’s sing-song flow and the track’s nostalgic glow make it redolent of Slick Rick’s “Hey Young World”—it’s genuinely tender and moving. Naturally, eXquire follows it with the unapologetically coarse “I Love Hoes,” which expresses exactly what its title promises. But that’s always been the real draw with eXquire: He’s a complicated and multi-faceted artist who defies pigeonholing. He conveys this sentiment on the hook to "RumbleFish" in pleading terms, where he repeats, “Don't box me in, don't box me in.” It might not be as catchy as “Huzzah,” but it feels twice as heartfelt.


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