Mixtape Review | QuESt (Sylvan LaCue) – Searching Sylvan

This mixtape came out on September 2nd in 2014. As I said in my review of the Evangeline EP, I was introduced to QuESt—now known as Sylvan LaCue—through Logic. He was signed to Visionary Music Group for a minute, but after this tape came out he left, and started his own label, WiseUp & Co. I remember the days leading up to this tape. He released a handful of tracks, and they were all fantastic, but I was worried that he wouldn’t really get the recognition that he deserved because there really weren’t that many people talking about it. The few people that were talking about it loved it tho. When it finally came out, it received massive amounts of praise. The reception of this tape was incredible. I was honestly surprised by how much people liked it. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t think the tape would be good. It was just crazy to see him go from being this obscure underground MC who people only really knew about because of Logic, to a widely respected lyricist who released one of the most celebrated projects of 2014. It’s kind of unfortunate that his buzz seems to have died down a lot since this project was released. It probably has something to do with him changing his name from QuESt to Sylvan LaCue. I’d completely forgotten about QuESt for a while. Last year I suddenly remembered him, and I was like “Hey, what happened to that guy?” I looked up something along the lines of “What happened to QuESt?” and that’s how I discovered his name change. He actually released his follow up to this mixtape—Far From Familiar—yesterday, which is part of why I’m checking this out now. I’ve been meaning to listen to this tape for a while now. I was originally intending to have this as one of my first reviews when I started this website back in December of 2014, but I just never got around to it for whatever reason. I’ll probably review Far From Familiar as soon as I’m finished with this mixtape. I’m expecting this to be dope af.

Track 1: Welcome Back Home Sylvan (Prod. The Marvels)

KMBT_C364-20140714104121

Wow. Did y’all see that mixtape trailer I posted above? Trailers for musical projects rarely interest me, but that actually got me kind of excited for this. Okay, it’s starting now. This track is just a skit in which QuESt moves back in with his mama. I think his Dad got evicted or something. I don’t know for sure. I guess I’ll find out soon.

Track 2: Maybe I Should (Prod. Synematik)

KMBT_C364-20140714104121

Oh shit… This beat is fucking incredible. QuESt’s goin’ in now. He’s basically describing being poor and living with his mama. He feels like he’s doing nothing with his life since he’s just writing bars, and his music isn’t catching on. “I clean the house everyday to feel like I’m doing something / Plus I contribute nothing / These bills pile, see my mother fake her smile / Hoping all this music shit I’m doing now is worthwhile.” Okay, this is dope af. I can already tell from the way he tells stories that I’m gonna love this tape. The first verse was dope af. This beat is so fuckin’ smooth. The hook’s dope. Goddamn. The second verse was nice, but he killed that last verse. This is great. I definitely fuck with this track. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 3: Make It Out Alive (Prod. The Marvels)

KMBT_C364-20140714104121

QuESt’s singing the hook, and it’s actually really catchy. One would think that QuESt singing is a bad idea, but every time I’ve heard him do it he actually sounded pretty good. I fuck with this hook. This beat is dope af. QuESt’s flow on the first verse is great. This is so smooth. Not in a chill way tho. It just sounds really polished. The second verse was great too. I don’t really have anything bad to say about this. There’s not anything I’d change about it. The production, hook, lyrics, vocals, flow, and delivery were all very good. I definitely fuck with this. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 4: Automatic (Prod. Will Notes & 6ix)

Automatic

QuESt starts goin’ off as soon as the track starts. This is fucking incredible. GODDAMN. He’s fuckin’ goin’ off. This is crazy. That beat is fuckin’ dope af first of all. It gives off this really stressed, tense vibe. QuESt’s delivery and flow are perfect for it. He’s basically describing the whole situation with his parents and how he had to move back in with his mama. He killed that first verse. The hook is dope. Will Notes & 6ix put they ASS in this beat. This is crazy. The second verse was dope af. I love this. Oh my God… The beat just switched up. Fuck, man. That last verse was dope af. This song is incredible. He’s rapping about how success isn’t automatic, but the way he’s describing his life makes his situation feel really desperate. He doesn’t really have time to wait for success. He fuckin’ murdered this track tho. The music video was cool. Nothing special, but it works. I definitely fuck with this song. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 5: Biscayne Boulevard (Prod. Logic)

KMBT_C364-20140714104121

This beat is dope af. I don’t know why I didn’t think Logic would be involved with this mixtape. The intro is dope. It’s pitch shifted, but I don’t really mind it. I usually dislike pitch shifting, but I’m okay with it if it’s just on an intro or hook or something like that. QuESt’s goin’ in now. I guess this is supposed to be the love song for this tape. I don’t like shit like this, but I don’t really mind this one. The beat’s dope, and QuESt’s flow was nice too. The lyrics aren’t really that interesting to me, but that’s really the only problem I have with it. He’s singin’ on the hook, and it sounds pretty good. Like I said, I don’t really like love songs, but this is done pretty well. It doesn’t ever get too sappy. I fuck with this track. It’s dope. The music video was actually pretty sappy tho… 4/5

Track 6: The Ride Feat. Mélat (Prod. Kyle Justice)

The Ride

This beat is pretty dope. It starts off kinda underwhelming, but it keeps building up as the song continues. I just wish it had a faster pace. QuESt did his thing on the first two verses. I think I would enjoy this a lot more if I was high or something. It’s really chill. I definitely fuck with it. Just not as much as the other tracks. The hook is dope. The last verse was dope. This is a good song. It didn’t hit me as hard as the other tracks, but I still enjoyed it. 4/5

Track 7: C.O.T. // Dreams Dreams Dreams (Prod. 6ix & QuESt)

KMBT_C364-20140714104121

Okay, this beat is really fuckin’ dope. It’s real smooth. C.O.T. stands for Constantly Over Thinking. The only people I ever hear talking about shit like that are VMG artists. I guess it just means that you shouldn’t stress about random shit, and that you should relax more. That would explain the smooth production. Okay, C.O.T. just ended. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t really blown away. Dreams Dreams Dreams is starting now. This production is really smooth too. I think I prefer this beat. He’s talking about his dreams, which include smashing Jennifer Lopez & selling out Madison Square Garden. He did his thing on the first & second verses. I enjoyed Dreams more than C.O.T., but I still wasn’t really blown away by either of the songs. They’re still good tho. I fuck with this track. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 8: Erase Me (Prod. OB)

Erase Me

This beat is dope. QuESt’s rapping to his father, who is a drug addict. “Swear to God you was like superman to me; no trace of kryptonite / Couldn’t walk that walk, but you talk that talk, and I love it when you lie to me / Yeah, I love it when you lie to me, fuck up, and apologize, then cry to me.” Damn…

That's sad…

This is fucking incredible. I don’t even know how to explain why I like this song so much. I’m always telling y’all about how I love sad music, so this is perfect for me. “All I wanna do is save you / Bring you back to your old self, but your old self is an angel / I can’t chase what I can’t see, that’s no fuss, it just ain’t me / I pray to God you get your shit together / Until then just erase me.” The first verse is dope af. There’s not even a hook. He just goes off, and then there’s a short interlude between each verse. The second verse was great too. He was talking more about his struggle for success. This beat isn’t even that good. I mean, it’s dope, but it’s not amazing. It just works really well for the shit he’s rapping about. It gives off the perfect vibe. Damn… The beat kinda switched up and got more intense for the last verse. He spazzed on that verse too. “How many wack niggas gassed up? / How many labels done passed us? / I’m still here; gotta cause trouble / Fuck a record deal, way to make em pay double.” I definitely fuck with this shit. This is dope af. The music video was cool too. 5/5

Track 9: Hunger (Prod. 6ix)

Hunger.jpeg

I’ve already heard this song. I think this is one of the tracks that was released before this tape came out. I might be wrong tho. This beat is great. Lyrically, this is exactly what the title implies. He’s rapping about how hungry he is for success and recognition in the industry. “16s, all I got are 16s / Rap about it homie, you can get up on the big screen / Million dollar budgets in abundance / Know you got a chance if you keeping it 100.” The first verse was dope af. The hook isn’t anything special, but it does it’s job well. He just went the motherfuck off on that second verse. Seriously, he fucking ethered that shit. It was like 70 bars. His flow was dope af. That last verse was fucking incredible. He ripped this shit to shreds. At one point in the verse, he mentioned “Macho Man Randy Savage,” and then there was a sample of Randy Savage saying “OOOOH YEEEYUH.” That shit was fucking incredible. He murdered this shit. Anybody who says Sylvan LaCue can’t rap is a fucking fraud because he ripped this shit to shreds. I definitely fuck with this track. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 10: TreaZon’s Prone To Sin (Interlude) [Prod. Jaylen!]

KMBT_C364-20140714104121

TreaZon is just one of QuESt’s homies I guess. I wonder if he’s signed to WiseUp. Okay, it’s starting now. Oh my God… I’ve heard this sample in like four different songs already. Tech N9ne used it on Strangeland, Mac Miller used it on Insomniak, The Underachievers used it on Chrysalis, and Krayzie Bone used it on Medication Meditation. I mean, I REALLY like that sample, but having five different songs with the same sample is a bit much. Well, Mac Miller’s version kinda sucked, so I’m personally only gonna have four versions. Still tho. It’s been overused. Hopefully I never have to hear another song with this sample. It’s getting out of hand. The way this sample is flipped kinda makes it stand out more than the other versions tho. TreaZon’s verse was great. I don’t have any real complaints about this track. The beat’s great. The sample thing was kind of a nitpick. TreaZon did his thing. The song rolls into the next track pretty nicely too. I fuck with this song. I do kinda wish QuESt had a verse, but aside from that this is dope. 4/5

Track 11: Lost Niggas (Prod. 6ix)

Lost Niggas

I’ve heard this track before. This is one of the songs that he released before this tape came out. This beat is kind of underwhelming, but it isn’t bad. The hook is cool. The verses are fucking incredible tho. This shit is so gangsta. He mixed the sound of a gun cocking in his verse, and it was so hard. “When you hear the (gun cock), run nigga / Matter fact, (gun cock), run nigga.” I remember the first time I heard that shit. I was like…

Cosby

The first verse was dope af. This is definitely the most gangsta track on the tape so far. The second verse was even better than the first. He was telling the story of a hard ass motherfucker who chose to rob some random guy. I definitely fuck with this track. It’s dope af. The skit at the end sounded gangsta as fuck too. Probably because they were listening to Chief Keef. 5/5

Track 12: No Love In The City (Prod. Logic & Tae Beast)

KMBT_C364-20140714104121

Damn, he got Tae Beast on here? Damn. I’d love to hear a collaboration with an actual Top Dawg MC. That’d be dope af. Okay, the track’s starting now. This beat is dope. He’s rappin’ about how fucked up his city is. He mentioned one of his friends who was murdered over an iPhone. Another one of his friends was shot and paralyzed from the waist down a week before his daughter was born. The hook isn’t bad. The beat just switched up. I’m assuming this part was produced by Tae Beast. It’s dope af. The second verse was great. I definitely fuck with this track. Both of the beats were great—specifically the second one—and QuESt did a great job with the verses too. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 13: Struggle Rapper Feat. Mélat (Prod. 6ix & Wishlade)

Struggle Rapper

This is another one of the tracks that I’ve already heard. In 2008, TAG Body Spray—is that still a thing?—hosted the “Survival Of The Freshest” competition. I don’t really know all the details. I just know that QuESt won, and that the judge was Jermaine Dupri. I think he won $11,000 or something. He also got to record his demo with Jermaine Dupri. This song is basically about how QuESt still hasn’t blown up despite his technical ability and underground success. “One of your projects could have got you the shine that you revered / But you dropped it, and like an idiot just fucking disappeared.” It’s kind of ironic that he would say something like that because that’s pretty much what happened after this mixtape dropped. Everybody loved this tape, but he kinda just stopped putting out music. The name change definitely didn’t help either. Hopefully he doesn’t keep repeating that mistake with Far From Familiar. “I’m hard headed / Would think that I would learn, but did it again twice / Like it was nothing of my concern.” It’s really weird that he’s able to acknowledge his mistake, but he did this exact same shit right after this tape came out. Leaving VMG and changing his name seems like the worst thing he could’ve done. That’s just my perspective tho. I don’t really know what was going on or what made him want to do that. Anyway, this song is dope af. The beat is perfect for the way QuESt was rapping. I love how it’s just one long ass verse too. There’s no hook. It’s over 100 bars. He was gettin’ busy for like 5 minutes. Mélat just sang the outro. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 14: In A Moment (Interlude) [Performed by Mélat] {Prod. The Marvels}

KMBT_C364-20140714104121

Oh. At the end of the previous track, there was a skit in which a VMG representative calls up QuESt. I guess that’s how he got signed. “In a moment everything can change.” It makes me sad to think about how he left VMG. I hope he isn’t poor and stuck with his mama now like he was before he signed with them. I guess I’ll find out when I listen to Far From Familiar.

Track 15: Dying Words Feat. Linzi Jai & Spoken Word by Mickey Factz (Prod. Mr. Porter)

KMBT_C364-20140714104121

I’ve never heard any of Mickey Factz’s shit, but I know he’s friends with Lupe Fiasco, so that probably means that he’s a great lyricist. I’m of course familiar with Linzi Jai through the Evangeline EP. The song’s starting now. Linzi Jai’s on the hook. It’s dope. The beat is great. This feels like the outro. It has kind of a celebratory vibe. The way he’s rapping makes it seem like he’s not gonna get another chance to say anything on this project; I guess the title is very fitting. Linzi Jai did a really good job with this hook. QuESt’s verses were great too. Mickey Factz had a Spoken Word outro, which was pretty bad. Just kidding. It wasn’t bad at all. It was actually very good. It just didn’t really add much to the track for me personally. It definitely didn’t hurt the track tho. I fuck with this song. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 16: Jon Bellion’s One Way To San Diego (Outro) [Prod. The Marvels]

Jon Bellion's One Way To San Diego.jpg

I’m not really a fan of Jon Bellion… He had a cool verse on Logic’s 24 Freestyle, but other than that, I don’t really fuck with him like that. I’m not feelin’ this track. Jon Bellion just repeats the same four lines for a minute and a half, and then it ends. QuESt comes back in and spits a short acapella 8-bar verse, but that obviously isn’t enough for me to like this shit. I’m not really into this track. It’s not that bad tho. It’s just not good to me. I wouldn’t ever come back to this. It’s just okay to me. 3/5

Track 17: May 10th, 2012 (Prod. 6ix)

May 10th, 2012

This song’s beat is pretty good. The first verse from QuESt was great. This feels like a prelude to the mixtape. He’s describing what happened as he was moving out of his dad’s house. This is really dope. He’s talking about what he was thinking as he was being driven back to his mama’s house by his girlfriend. This is dope af. He did a fantastic job telling the story of how he moved back home. It was crazy to hear him walking up to his house and knocking on the front door in the middle of the night right before the track ended. The way he put this track at the end kinda reminds me of how good kid, m.A.A.d. city ended. I definitely fuck with this track. This is dope af. 5/5

Track +1: Days Before Searching Sylvan (Prod. WondaGurl)

Days Before Searching Sylvan

This song was released a few days before Searching Sylvan. The title & production are obviously influenced by Travi$ Scott’s Days Before Rodeo project. It samples the beat from the intro to that mixtape. It’s pretty much the same beat. The influences end there tho; QuESt is actually rapping well on this track, unlike Travi$ Scott. When I originally reviewed that mixtape, I said “The beat is dope, but I honestly would’ve taken any other rapper over it. Except French Montana,” so this is perfect for me. QuESt fuckin’ murdered this shit. It’s like a sequel to Hunger. “I’m feeling like Drizzy before The Comeback / Kendrick before the dedicated verses, nigga run that / Wiz before the Flight School / Cole before the Warm Up / This is merely precaution, don’t frown like I never warned you / Please, don’t talk to me about who got next / If that ain’t me, that’s disrespect.” I definitely fuck with this track. The beat is dope, and QuESt went off. This is dope af. 5/5

Track +2: Back & More (Prod. Jansport J)

Back & More

This was the second to last track that Sylvan LaCue ever released under the name QuESt. It came out just over a month after Searching Sylvan. This beat is dope af. It’s real smooth. I’m not a huge fan of the vocals on the intro, but it’s not terrible. This feels like a proper outro to the mixtape. Or an epilogue. The hook is dope af. It sounds like a Kendrick Lamar hook. It’s dope tho. He’s singing again, but I like the melody on the hook a lot more than that of the intro. All of the verses were great. I fuck with this song. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track +3: Decades (Prod. Thelonious Martin)

Decades

This song was released about two months after Searching Sylvan. It was the last song that Sylvan LaCue ever released under the name QuESt. The production is very menacing and aggressive. It’s dope. This song was released along with the announcement that QuESt had left VMG. Anyway, he fucking murdered this track. You probably see the pattern by now. QuESt is a top tier MC. He just goes off on this track for 2 minutes. There’s nothing I don’t like about this track. I can’t even really find anything to nitpick. He fuckin’ spazzed on this shit. This is dope af. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

This mixtape is dope af. There aren’t really any consistent flaws with this mixtape at all. QuESt was rapping his ass off on every single track here. I can’t wait to hear about what he’s been doing since this project came out on Far From Familiar. I guess if you don’t really like hearing motherfuckers rap they ass off, and you prefer lighter, more mainstream sounding records you might not love this project. Most of these songs are over five minutes long. For Hip Hop snobs who love concept albums by dope MCs, this is a damn near flawless project. It sounds like an album. The way it’s done reminds me of good kid, m.A.A.d city. That’s obviously not a bad thing. The story of an MC living with his mama who’s struggling to make it may not be that appealing on paper, but once you actually listen to the music, you’ll be able to see why this project was so well received. I haven’t been this engaged in the story of a concept album since I listened to good kid, m.A.A.d. city. The way he was describing being stuck at his mama’s house and shit was crazy. You rarely hear MCs making their situations seem that desperate. He did an amazing job with this mixtape. I can’t wait to listen to Far From Familiar.

Favorite Song: Hunger

Least Favorite Song: One Way To San Diego

Verdict:

92%

VERY HOTTTTT

Tell me if I’m trippin’ in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this article share it on Facebook & Twitter.
Watch the video below for more thoughts on this mixtape.

Follow me on Twitter: @OGNickMarsh

Advertisements

2 comments

Tell me if I'm trippin'

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s