Artistry is represented by a person’s experiences, tragedies, successes and more. Reflected in the pages of their rap book or drawn out in a music video — the act of creation is dripping with personal pride, blood, sweat and tears. For Sylvan Lacue, the Dade County MC formerly known as Quest, the art that resides within him is dripping with new wave appeal that is nothing like what would come to mind when you think of Miami rap music.
With his song, “Fall From Grace,” already receiving applause and praise from rap blogs and music publications — the 25-year-old lyricist is quickly becoming one of the leaders who is bringing pride back to his city. Backed by impressive wordplay and consistent skills, Sylvan Lacue is also fueled by strong energy and an effortless, quick-fire flow. After beginning his rap career in 2009 with several releases, which included the critically acclaimed Searching Sylvan, Lacue signed to Logic‘s Visionary Music Group before forming his own WiseUp collective.
Abandoning his deal with Visionary Music Group enabled Sylvan Lacue to reconnect with his Miami roots. “I find my calmness in times of uncertainty by myself alone during late nights,” he explained in a press release. “I can pray, speak to God and remind myself of what’s most important. I mentally operate better when I’m left alone.” An almost impossibility, as the MC is heralded for his painstaking detail and creativity in his “Fall From Grace” single, which stems from his forthcoming Far From Familiar project due this spring.
Erase the idea that Sylvan Lacue is coming to be the next coke kingpin from Miami, a la Rick Ross, as he is more likely to be the boss of reality rap from the 305. We here at Okayplayer were fortunate to get some time with the WiseUp wordsmith to introduce him to our audience via First Look Friday. So, sit back, take a breather and read about Sylvan Lacue’s origins, why Jay Z is his most influential rapper and how he is far from familiar from those in the rap game.
Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact on both sides of the U.S. What is it that Miami is seeing and hearing that the world has yet to discover?
Sylvan Lacue: I would have to say… hunger. I have never heard anyone outside of Miami really display a sense of hunger the way that Miami artists do. It’s really special.
OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?
SL: I would have to say Jay Z is probably my biggest influence because he personifies preeminent skill to me. He’s the one guy, in my opinion, who really embodies practicing your craft and continuing to evolve over the years. I’m also heavily influenced by Coldplay and Kanye West, mainly for their sonic prowess. I study their musicality religiously. I absolutely love how their albums are reference points for different sonic periods in their careers. That in itself is inspiring as shit to me.
OKP: Your song, “Fall From Grace,” is very dope sounding and paired with some fresh lyrical content. It has placed you on the radar of music snobs who have a heavy presence in the industry. Can you talk about how life was for you while developing as an artist in Florida? How did you react to your first bits of press?
SL: Developing as an artist in Miami was very interesting, as I started recording music when I was around 15-years-old by myself during the high school music recording program. So, I was able to really start experimenting with my sound early on and freely without worrying about time constraints. I emulated all of my favorite rappers until I had their style, flow and presence down to a key. After that I used that information to learn more about what I could and couldn’t do.
I was really into MC’s, so I was all into the early club tapes and East Coast rap, while everyone else was stuck in the Lil’ Jon and the Eastside Boyz era. The first bit of press I received was from illroots and 2DopeBoyz back in early 2009 and, to be honest, I flipped my shit! It was truly amazing. Around that time, blogs were becoming a steady outlet for the underground, so it was beautiful to see my name on a website that profiled something that I created. I was only 18, but it meant a lot to me.
OKP: Can you also talk about the importance of the music industry scene in the 305 and where you see it evolving in the next five years?
is the managing editor of Okayplayer. His top three MCs are: 1) Andre 3000, 2) Scarface, and 3) Black Thought. Debate him on Twitter @KevitoClark.