Album Review | Sylvan LaCue (QuESt) – Far From Familiar

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This album was released on April 8th this year. If you read my review of Searching Sylvan, you should pretty much know how I feel about Sylvan LaCue. He’s one of my favorite MCs. I thought Searching Sylvan was phenomenal. It was easily one of the best projects from 2014. Probably one of the best mixtapes I’ve ever heard. This album is a direct sequel to the story of Searching Sylvan, so I’m really looking forward to this. I can’t wait to hear about what’s been going on ever since he released Searching Sylvan and left VMG. Hopefully he addresses that along with his name change on the album. I’m expecting this to be dope. I’d definitely like this to be better than Searching Sylvan. I’m not gonna let my hopes get outta control tho.

Track 1: Loner Feat. Linzi Jai (Prod. The Marvels)

Okay, it’s starting now. I’m excited. Oh shit. Hahaha. When the drums came in I actually got startled. Hahaha. Wow. The production sounds really polished. This intro kinda reminds me of the way My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy started. Kinda. Linzi Jai sounds great on this intro. This beat is dope af. Sylvan’s verse was great. Okay, Sylvan’s goin’ in now. Yes. The way he came in with “Please excuse me, but fuck you niggas” was so hard. His flow was dope af. She doin’ pretty well / Rollin’ with niggas who know the city well.” I love the way those two lines flow together. It sounds like QuESt was really feelin’ himself after the success of Searching Sylvan. “No clue who to talk to / But still feeling like the man when I walk through / Gold chains, gold watch; let the clock bloom / Hollywood feeling like I’m putting on a costume.” His flow is so fuckin’ dope on this shit. This is a great way to open up the album. I’m honestly surprised by how polished the actual music here is. This feels like a big budget, mainstream album. In a good way tho. There’s not really anything negative I could say about this track. The vocals from Linzi Jai sounded fantastic, the production was phenomenal, and Sylvan’s verse was great. This is dope af. I fuck with this. 5/5

Track 2: Cruel World (Prod. The Marvels)

Wow. The production is fantastic so far. I love the tribal sounding percussion. This beat is dope af. This drum pattern is so dope. He was singin’ on the hook, and it actually sounds like he has pretty good control over his voice. The first verse was dope. Goddamn. The beat just switched up… It’s dope af. QuESt just came through at the end and killed the last verse. I love how he always does that. He has a lot of songs where the beat switches up for the last verse, and he just goes the fuck off. I loved the ad-libs in the background too. He sounded so fuckin’ hard on that shit. “NAH I AIN’T SCARED, NIGGA. I AIN’T SCARED.” He killed this shit. “It’s looking like the game need more change, and Ima be the motherfuckin’ cashier.” 5/5

Track 3: Heavenly (Prod. Fortune)

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This song was premiered by HotNewHipHop on March 14th. This beat is cool. The first verse was dope af. The hook is alright I guess. It definitely isn’t bad. He killed the second verse too. Damn. I just wish the hook and beat were better. Honestly, the more musical aspects of this song don’t stand out too much, but the verses are so fucking good that I have to call this shit dope af. This song has some of the dopest bars on the whole album so far. I mean, it’s only the third track, but he REALLY went off on this shit. I definitely fuck with this song. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 4: Hollywood Identity Crisis (Skit)

This skit was cool I guess. I don’t really have anything to say about it. It didn’t need to be a separate track. He coulda did what he did with Searching Sylvan, and just put it at the end of the previous track. It doesn’t matter tho. It’s just a skit.

Track 5: Fall From Grace (Prod. Linzi Jai)

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I’m pretty sure that this was the first official single to be released from this album. I might be wrong. He’s goin’ in now. This beat is very dark & menacing. Kinda like the production on Decades or Hunger. The similarities don’t end there tho. He’s spittin’ his motherfucking ass off just like he did on those tracks. I love his aggressive delivery & flow on this shit. He snapped on this shit. The vocals on the hook are pretty dope too. I don’t have any problems with this track. Sylvan spazzed on both verses. I fuck with this shit right here. I loved his aggression on this track. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 6: The Uber (Skit)

I don’t really like how he separated the skits from the songs. That’s definitely just me nitpicking tho. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the quality of the music here. There’s really no point of this skit being separated from the next track tho. It’s less than thirty seconds, and the transition from this track to the next one is insanely seamless. Seriously, you would have no idea that they were separate tracks unless you were looking at the tracklist. It’s uncanny.

Track 7: Studio City Feat. Mélat (Prod. The Marvels)

Studio City.jpg

This beat is dope. The hook isn’t bad. The first verse was cool. This is very emotional. Not in a Drake way tho. He sounds like he’s depressed, and possibly on drugs or something. Yeah, he’s definitely not sober. The Spoken Word outro was pretty dope. I don’t know if he was stoned or drunk. “Room spinning… Room spinning… Room spinning…” He must’ve been drunk. I really like how emotional this song sounds. He did a good job making himself seem fucked up. This isn’t a super exciting track, and I usually don’t even like more mellow tracks like this, but I REALLY fuck with this track. It’s really well done. It’s just really, really relaxing. I don’t even smoke, but I feel like I’m high when I listen to this song. It’s just super relaxing to me. Also, I LOVE sad music, and this is kind of a depressing song. I definitely fuck with this shit. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 8: Venus Amor Says L.O.Y.L. (Interlude) [Prod. Fortune]

Sonically, this track is pretty dope. I could barely understand anything Venus Amor was saying, but I enjoyed the track. I’m not gonna rate it tho. It’s not really a full song. I didn’t mind it being here tho. I just wouldn’t ever come back to it again.

Track 9: Emeryville (Prod. Linzi Jai)

Emeryville.jpg

This beat is alright. It’s definitely not bad. It just doesn’t really stand out that much. This is a love song. You would think that releasing a whole EP with nothing but love songs would mean that he got it all outta his system, but I guess not. He’s singing throughout the entire track. The melody isn’t really bad. It’s just not that good. It doesn’t stand out to me. I don’t listen to Sylvan LaCue to hear him sing love songs. I listen to Sylvan LaCue to hear him slaughter aggressive beats. I’m not really fuckin’ with this. Nothing stands out about it. The melody gets pretty repetitive after a while. I’m not gonna be comin’ back to this shit. It’s not terrible tho. It’s just not that good to me personally. 3/5

Track 10: Caravan ’04 Feat. Linzi Jai (Prod. Fortune)

This song was originally on the Evangeline EP. I wasn’t really feelin’ it when I originally heard it. Maybe I was full of shit. I’m gonna give it another chance now. Wait a minute… If Evangeline was supposed to take place AFTER Far From Familiar, then why the motherfuck is this song here? Alright, whatever. It doesn’t matter. My original review of this track was kinda… wrong. I mean, I definitely don’t love it, but I actually kinda fuck with this song now. It’s not THAT good to me, but I enjoyed it. If I was into love songs I would probably like this more. I think it’s well done tho. It’s not poorly written or anything. I’m not blown away like I was with a lot of the other tracks, but this song has definitely grown on me since I originally reviewed it. I think I like it in the context of this album more than in the EP. That EP was just a little too much for me. I can’t do that many love songs all at once. I fuck with this song on this project tho. 4/5

Track 11: Lisa Bonet (Prod. Linzi Jai)

I’m not feelin’ this so far. He’s singing, and I’m not feelin’ his delivery. He’s doin’ that annoying, half yelling, half singing shit that Drake does a lot. The way the beat dropped was pretty weird. It was kinda off putting. It’s not terrible. I feel the same way that I did when I listened to track 9. I like this one even less tho. His singing just isn’t that good on here. The beat isn’t very good either. He doesn’t start rapping until 2:20. He’s spittin’ about relationships again. This isn’t for me. I’m not feelin’ it. The way it ended felt really abrupt. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 12: Farley’s (Interlude) [Prod. Linzi Jai]

This beat is nothing special. I’m glad Sylvan’s rapping on here tho. He’s actually saying something interesting again. It’s not nearly as personal as anything on Searching Sylvan, and he’s not really slaughtering shit like he was on Hunger, but he’s still rapping well. It may not be as introspective as the shit on Searching Sylvan, but he’s addressing more shit on this song than he has on any other track from this album. I enjoyed this track. The beat wasn’t all that, but I liked Sylvan’s verse. It’s a really well written track. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 13: Back To The City (Prod. The Marvels)

Back To The City

This song was released a while ago, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard it. This hook is fine. It lasts WAY too long tho. Sylvan’s finally goin’ in now. This beat is actually really fuckin’ dope. The first verse was dope. His delivery on this second verse is pretty similar to the delivery I didn’t like on Lisa Bonet, but it actually sounds good here. I think it works much better with this bigger, more grandiose production style. The beat on Lisa Bonet sounded very hollow and empty compared to this. He snapped on the second verse. In terms of content, this is pretty much this album’s equivalent of Mama by Kendrick Lamar; he’s rapping about returning home, and not forgetting where he came from. The concept behind this album actually reminds me a lot of To Pimp A Butterfly without all the themes of racism & black empowerment. It’s the story of how he dealt with the fame and success of Searching Sylvan. It was too much for him to handle, so he had to go back home to bring himself back down to Earth. He just stopped to see his girl before he went home. I really fuck with this. The long winded hook definitely grew on me. It’s still too long, but I don’t mind it that much. The second verse is amazing. I feel like I’m not getting across just how much I love this song. He went the fuck off. I think this song is incredible. I love the production, and I love Sylvan’s delivery over it. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 14: Crosswinds (Prod. Jake Howard & Linzi Jai)

Wait a minute… Have I been pronouncing “Sylvan” wrong this whole time? There’s a voice mail from his mama that plays right at the beginning of this track, and when she says his name, she puts emphasis on the second half of his name. So his name is pronounced “sill-VON” instead of “SILL-vin.” Wow. I prefer QuESt even more than I did before now… Whatever, it doesn’t matter. This is basically Sylvan’s version of Hey Mama by Kanye West. Well, it’s kinda different. I guess he decided to make this song because he hasn’t really seen his mama at all ever since he first got signed with VMG. The first verse was great. Holy fucking shit… This is kinda corny, but I literally got goose bumps just now… He was singing about how “It feels so good to be home.” After that, the music stopped, and then the first few seconds of the opening skit from Searching Sylvan played. Damn. That was dope af. A new beat comes in after you hear his mama say “Welcome back home.” The final verse was dope. I fuck with this song. Objectively, this song is soft as fuck, but as an admitted “mama’s boy,” I’ve always loved songs like this. I personally think this song is fantastic. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 15: Give Me The World (Prod. Linzi Jai)

This beat kinda reminds me of Make It Out Alive. It’s dope. This feels like the outro. Maybe he’ll do what he did at the end of Searching Sylvan and close the album with a song that takes place before track 1. The song just ended. It’s dope. The verses are really well written. The vocals on the hook are pretty rough. I kinda like the raw delivery of it tho. The singing isn’t good at all, but it just makes it seem more emotional. Not in a bad way tho. I fuck with this song. The outro in which he was singing to his dead homie was cool. The actual singing wasn’t very good, but I can still appreciate it. It was sad. I’m not blown away by the song, but I enjoyed it. This is dope. 4/5

Track 16: At What Cost (Prod. Linzi Jai)

Alright here we go. He’s really addressing shit now. I feel like this is everything I wanted from this album in one track. He broke up with Kassandra, who was his girl on Searching Sylvan. He mentioned that on Crosswinds… I’m pretty sure this song takes place before track 1. It sounds like he’s picking up right where Dying Words left off. “Hopin’ Logic’s fans like me on tour / Searching Sylvan dropped, and all I got was theories on how the industry moves and advice that I never asked for.” There’s no percussion. He’s just spittin’ over some calm, yet dramatic background music. “I reunited with Pops / He still using, but the hatred is gone.” I wish he made this track one, and just moved everything else up a spot. Anyway, I definitely fuck with this song. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track +: The Watcher 3 (Prod. The Marvels)

The Watcher 3.jpg

Apparently Jay Z made a sequel to The Watcher by Dr. Dre. I guess this is Sylvan’s sequel to Jay’s version. I think this was the first track that he released under his birth name. This beat is dope af. He just spit the verse. It was dope af. He was talkin’ about how other rappers these days are fuckin’ dog shit compared to him. That’s pretty much all I can say. The structure is real simple. It’s just one great verse, and then some singing on the outro. I fuck with this song. It’s dope af. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is REALLY good. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Searching Sylvan, but it’s still very dope. It’s obviously worth listening to, especially if you’re a fan. I think the reason I liked Searching Sylvan more was because the story is more blatant. The skits laid everything out for you. The underlying narrative on this album isn’t as clear. It’s still pretty easy to get, but not as much as Searching Sylvan. I’m gonna be honest, when I first heard this album I was kinda disappointed. I’ve been done with this review for like two weeks now tho. I’ve had time to sit with the album, and I can’t stop myself from listening to it. I keep coming back to it over and over again. I’ve been playing this shit more than anything else that came out this year. Kendrick Lamar & Elzhi BOTH dropped shit this year, but I’ve still been playing this shit more. That says a lot. I think Elzhi’s album was more consistent, but I just haven’t been listening to it as much as this one. That probably has something to do with the production tho. The production on this album was actually very good. Elzhi’s album may have been better objectively in terms of lyricism, but Sylvan LaCue is just a more interesting artist to me personally. His music is accessible, but he doesn’t sacrifice lyricism for that. Sylvan LaCue is seriously one of my favorite rappers right now. I think people are in a coma right now because this guy is putting out some of the best music I’ve ever heard, and it’s going unnoticed. I know he probably doesn’t like to be compared to Logic, but I honestly think I prefer Sylvan LaCue. That might have something to do with him being a lesser known artist, but I feel like I connect more with Sylvan. That’s pretty weird too. Logic is a very relatable artist, especially for me since we’re both racially ambiguous and mixed. I don’t know what it is about Sylvan LaCue tho. Something about the way he raps is just so much more interesting. I guess it could just be boiled down to the fact that Sylvan LaCue is an incredible writer. Even the tracks that I didn’t really like are REALLY well written. I can already tell that this is gonna be a strong contender for my album of the year… God, I hope I’m not dickriding. Anyway, I definitely fuck with this album. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: Back To The City

Least Favorite Song: Lisa Bonet

Verdict:

87%

HOTTTTT

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

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Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album.

Follow me on Twitter: @OGNickMarsh

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2 comments

  1. i’ve had this on repeat a lot lately, it’s weird because when i first heard the singles I wasn’t really feeling any of em, but within the context of the album they make a lot more sense. I’m sure at the end of the year this is gonna be in my top 20 favorite releases

    Liked by 2 people

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