RXK NEPHEW FOR RICK OWENS DRKSHDW SS22
RXK Nephew has a lot to say. RXK Nephew, the prolific rapper from Rochester, NY, has an archive of 1000’s of songs, ranging from everything from trapping to questioning the existence of dinosaurs. During my interview with him, he explained “I don’t have a filter. That’s just not the type of artist I am”. He repeats his lines up to 5 times, has catchphrases (“I walk in this bitch like”), always with a bottle of Henny in hand like an extra appendage. RXK has what Chogyam Trungpa calls Crazy Wisdom-an innocent state of mind that embraces unpredictability and chaos, that does not provide comforting answers to one's pain or confusion, but unifies all affect-sensation by channeling it into productive fruition and bringing art to everyday life.
Nephew is an effortless interpreter of our current moment. He exists outside of the window of historical frequency, where reason is questioned and digital mediums have flattened and spawned multiple competing narratives and personas (going Slitherman mode), to stopping a song mid-beat to talk about how much it sucks in the middle. “Everybody got their own conspiracies, of what they think is going on”. Adavhuta, a sanskrit word meaning ‘to shake’ is designated to those who teach through the subversion of social norms, whose behavior may include sleeping on crematory grounds (Make The Cemetery Great Again) or being strangely dressed ($$$$$ come tat RXK on my face).
"THOUSANDS OF HIS TRACKS FEEL LIKE EXPRESSIONS OF JOY TESTED BY A BACKDROP OF DARK MEMORIES."
I remember the first time I’d heard him, a friend sent me a link to Slitherman Activated. It gave me the same feeling I felt when I’d heard Young Thug's mixtape I Came From Nothing 2 a decade prior. It sounded inhuman, and no one had face-tats at that early a stage in their career at the time. He was just other enough to change both the sound and image of rap. Nobody was saying what I heard on Slitherman, nor what is arguably his finest and most popular song, American Tterroristt-a relentless 10 minute track that is not only remarkable in its length, but its format: most of its lines being framed as questions rather than statements. I'm readin' the Bible like, "What is this?" Adam made Eve off of one rib? They made the world in seven days? So Adam and Eve had a thousand kids?”
Thousands of his tracks feel like expressions of joy tested by a backdrop of dark memories. “Man I’m just blessed…back in the day I felt like my back was against the wall, like everyone could eat a dick” he explained in our interview. He then went on to say that local studios in his hometown of Rochester, NY wouldn’t even accept his money to record him, but he just kept at it. If you persevere and stay consistent, people will vibe with it. Consistency, a will-to-power that cuts through an epidemic of burnout and social atrophy, a shining path that burns through the cynicism, self-seriousness, & disaffection that has come to define our generation. RXK Nephew has become something of a folk-hero to the many who feel like they’re just doomscrolling through the culture, who feel misrepresented by out-of-touch gatekeepers and algorhithmic bias that do not favor uncurated outsiders.
"... I GOT SOME SHIT TO SAY YOU FEEL ME."
He explained how when he got out of jail, he went all in on rapping. Without sounding cocky, he said “I always knew there was something special about me, that I would make it, like I got some shit to say you feel me”. When we had set up on zoom I had no idea what to expect. What I found was someone who was respectful, who seemed more interested in curiosity than self-preservation or bragging. It was crazy how much I enjoyed the conversation, how it brought out memories of my own life that I’d shuffled to the back of my subconscious. It was a reminder, oh shit, this is human.
The obvious comparison people make is Lil B (or Max B), whose output, neologisms, and Based ethos can be seen as compatible. But while Lil B was a product of the early optimism of social media virality and playing off the algorithm, RXK Nephew reflects the skepticism of the systems that have caused a loss of freedom. “Everyones got their own version of the truth,” he explains. Even at his most brash and offensive, it still hits at this fundamental notion that truth is a process of discovery through fluidity and reckless abandon.