Miami’s hip-hop scene has churned out plenty of household names– Rick Ross, Flo Rida and Pitbull among them– whose music has been wildly successful on the commercial front, if not always, the most thematically compelling material out there. Looking to balance out that trend is Sylvan LaCue, a Magic City native who is reaching for hip-hop stardom through the hard-hitting narratives he has to share on the mic.
Having previously formed under the stage name QuESt– a reference to both Drake and Nas– LaCue has been making music since 2009 and was briefly signed to Visionary Music Group, a project sponsored by fellow rapper Logic. This career phase featured a plethora of mixtapes, including the widely-applauded Searching Sylvan in 2014. Critics remarked that LaCue had successfully incorporated important recent life events into his music– “from relationship switch-ups and family issues to perspective changes from being solo to actually having a supportive team behind him.”
LaCue has admitted that he held himself to a high standard in terms of channeling his recent experiences into an album-long narrative. “These past two years were about me searching within myself to find out who I was as a person…as a man,” he said, explaining Searching Sylvan’s title and content. “And as a result, I feel I was simultaneously able to find myself as an artist.”
LaCue has since switched his career plans after Visionary Music Group failed to gain him the exposure he had hoped for. He instead founded his own label, WiseUp & Co., and signed a distribution deal with InGrooves Music Group. The records have kept coming throughout all of this, with the latest one, Apologies in Advance, released January 12, 2018. “I wanted to create a Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but for millennials,” he described his new project to Billboard. Only “instead of love, I want to talk about emotions.”
Given such lofty ambitions, and his lyricisim hailed as “unapologetic and true to his narrative,” hopefully one day he will become the latest rags-to-riches story within hip-hop lore.