When you think of Miami hip-hop, chances are very high that club bangers and summer soundtracks come to mind. You don’t realize that there’s a whole new wave of South Florida artists that have been solidifying rhymes for a while now and don’t sound anything alike. 24-yr old artist Sylvan LaCue is one of the leaders that has found his sound in the game with the successful 2014 release of his album Searching Sylvan. SS was deemed by Huffington Post as one of the best projects of the year and maintained a fluid sound that can only be mastered by those who have written down every thought all while downplaying the importance of sleep. LaCue exceeds the storytelling standards that lyricists are expected to abide by and delivers food for thought on 17 substantive tracks. Whether it’s regarding city schematics, family dynamics, or making a way out of nothing, LaCue remains unapologetic and true to his narrative. Read our exclusive interview below.
Every artist has a breakout project before a major album comes into play and I strongly believe Searching Sylvan was that for you. How do you feel about your most recognized project coming at age 24 a bit later in the game?
I was dropping tapes when I was 19 in 2009 and trying to make it early in the game. But I didn’t really understand the process of maturing and understanding who I was as an artist.
I call it the “Drake” effect. Drake dropped So Far Gone and I feel like for a guy like me, watching Drake drop that project really made it real for us. Next year we saw him on the Grammys. Everyone expects their career to start the same way now.
In the grand scheme of things I’m really excited that this project came at this age. Had I gotten any monetary success early on I wouldn’t have known what to do with it and I would’ve sabotaged myself as an artist. I’m grateful that God really allowed me to fail the amount of times I failed so I could learn.
This was a huge project with over 16 tracks. Most artists barely make it to 10 quality tracks. What were some of your favorite joints off of Searching Sylvan if you had to narrow it down?
My favorite tracks were Erase Me, Biscayne Blvd, No Love in the City. Those are my top choices out of all the tracks.
“No Love in the City” was one of my favorite tracks off SS. What was the inspiration behind your lyrics?
It was inspired by a true story. I really did have a friend who I saw at the mall one day and I found out he got murdered over an iPhone, over something as small as an iPhone. It put a lot of things in perspective for me. That event just made me realize that I love this city but I have to get out of here. I didn’t want to feel like I was a prisoner to the city.
What’s the music scene like in South Florida right now?
I feel like we don’t have a sound in the sense that no one can dictate what a Miami sound is. But there’s a lot of aggressive and hard-hitting lyrical trap coming from South Florida right now – it’s something that’s really special. Denzel Curry is leading it right now and there’s a lot of guys around him like Pouya and Young Simmie and Bizzy Crook – a lot of things are culminating out here.
You recently announced your departure from Visionary Music Group which surprised a lot of people. Why did you make that decision?
Basically in short I just decided to move on by myself. It’s no ill will towards them. I just felt like the management was a big motivating factor to move on. It wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t necessarily for me. I wanted to focus more on my process.
Everything they have done for me has benefited me in a tremendous way and to some degree I wouldn’t be able to reach some of my new fans if it wasn’t for them. But I’m all about growing and being my own artist and own entity. Sometimes people don’t grow in the same way or go in the same direction. It’s no hard feelings though.
In light of the new transition, what can fans expect in 2015 from you?
We’re shooting a lot of videos. The ‘Automatic’ video is already done, ‘Biscayne Blvd’ is done…We’re also shooting for ‘Erase Me’ right now, The Ride, and Make It Out Alive. Hunger is being shot as well.
Also, I’m planning on doing SXSW and it’ll be my first time. I’m also working on my new project for the third or fourth quarter of next year. I’m just moving forward. That’s really what it’s all about.
Why so many visuals for this project?
There’s 17 records on this project. I need to give more life to this project and display the actual project before I jump into a new body of work.
Nice. So who were some of the artists you grew up on?
My homie Phillip played Nas for me when I was 11 and I heard “You’re the Man” off of his 5th album Stillmatic and I just connected to it. Everyone in Miami was into Trick Daddy at the time and Nas spoke to me on a different level. I always liked knowing things that other people didn’t know and Nas’s lyrics provided that.
I was also listening to Big Pun, Canibus…I became a super huge Lupe Fiasco fan for the longest too. I was a huge Common fan, and Kanye West, Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and R. Kelly.
Is there anything you would’ve done differently in the last few months?
I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently. I’m really happy with where I’m at. I’m just happy with what I’m realizing. I think everything that’s happened has happened for a reason. It’s allowed me to sit back and perceive things from an unbiased eye and just take control of where I’m at currently.
What advice do you have to give to a kid starting off where you were at 5 to 6 years ago?
Focus on your craft as much as you can. Be patient and understand it’s gonna be a lot more no’s than yes’s. Have faith in what you do – whatever it is, just have faith in something because you can’t make it in this industry without faith, period. Continuously be open to learning about yourself man, whether it’s from a personal or professional standpoint.
All Photography by @JBenavente_
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