If you’ve read the prelude to this review, you probably already know this album really… I don’t even know how to say this… This album needed to happen. Anyone who knows me knows I’m fucked up. I’ve been alone all my life, and part of me feels ashamed for some reason. I’ve always felt like I was doing something wrong, or like I was letting someone down, whether it be myself or somebody I love. After a while, I really just got to a point where I didn’t wanna try anymore. Everything felt pointless. I’m still not where I wanna be. I’ve let people I care about down. I can’t protect everyone I love. I’ve hurt people I love. I was hurt when this album came out. I was disappointed and ashamed that I’d said certain things to people I care about, and that I wasn’t able to save relationships that I tried so desperately to cling on to. I still haven’t completely figured out how to get my feelings across to others in a healthy way. I’m not the person I wanna be. My sister and this album helped me realize that there’s no rush. I’m not alone. I’m not the only one who makes mistakes. I don’t need to feel like I’m running out of time. I shouldn’t be going through a midlife crisis at the age of 19. I shouldn’t be depressed that I don’t have a wife and children to take care of. Being me isn’t a crime. It’s okay. I have time. Other people are going through the same struggles. Everybody wants to do better. I don’t know where I’m going with this lol. Basically, this album inspired me to finally shed the emotional walls I had built up around myself and address the insecurities that’ve plagued my life. This is an important album.
Step 1: Apologies in Advance
Step 2: Getting Uncomfortable
Head Games Skhye Hutch
Steps 3 & 4: Becoming Yourself
Empathy Feat. BJRNCK
Steps 5 & 6: Distant Ally
Step 7: What We Deserve
Grateful Sylvan LaCue, Wishlade
Steps 8 & 9: Nature vs. Nurture
P.O.M.E. Feat. Javonté Skhye Hutch
Step 10: Ain’t No Perfect
Step 11: Full Cup
Love & Sacrifice
Step 12: Apology Accepted
The first track is a skit introducing the concept of a group therapy session based on the 12 Step Program developed by Bill Wilson & Bob Smith in 1935. As opposed to striving for sobriety, the Apologies in Advance program is all about reaching a level of emotional complacency. So recovering from alcoholism could be a goal for someone who’s involved in the AiA program, but as a whole it’s more general than that.
The first song was actually released way back in 2016, but I hadn’t heard any of the singles until listening to the album. It sets the tone for the rest of the project really well. The production is really jazzy, and Sylvan’s flow on the first verse is smoother than butter. I love his lowkey delivery too. It sounds like I’m in his head listening to him think. His flow on the final verse is fucking awesome too. He actually dropped a remix with Saba on February 2nd last year. Saba killed it, but Sylvan came back and absolutely annihilated it.
Told my niggas, “I don’t want to hit a forty with a .40 in front of bodegas incarcerated or in a hearse
Systematically envisioned to imprison me in dirt
By the age of 27 I’m just tryna dead a curse
15 I had a vivid conversation with myself
And said self you can either kill you or kill a verse
The next song is even fucking better. I could see Kendrick rapping over that beat. Maybe not so much these days, but definitely before he started chasing that trendier sound with DAMN. I guess that makes sense since it’s produced by Skhye Hutch, who produced Dying of Thirst. The beat is fucking incredible. Sylvan’s flow and delivery at the beginning actually remind me a lot of Kendrick too. Kendrick doesn’t make music like that anymore though. I loved DAMN., but I’ll always prefer this jazzier sound. The only thing I can really say about this track is Skhye Hutch & Sylvan LaCue made magic. Sylvan rapped his fucking ass off. His flow is fucking incredible, and when the beat switches up for the final verse, man… WOOO!
At this point in the album, I already knew something special was happening for me. Sylvan’s always been a super relatable artist, and it was comforting to see that he was going through some of the same issues I’ve been dealing with.
Uncle G I miss you, but our relationship suffered from our positions as individuals
See, I became a man; you couldn’t understand
And saw me as the same little nigga you met at 16
I miss things; miss when I didn’t judge who I was on a daily basis
Pressin’ my inner patience
Runnin’ my mind in circles and losin’ my inner sanctum
Even if Sylvan LaCue was a shitty rapper, the album just has a super comforting sound. Like, when I heard Empathy, it just made me feel like I was sitting by a fire with someone I love eating soup or something. It made me feel like I was at home mentally. I don’t know if that’s a good way to describe it. It made me feel safe. Like I was being taken care of. Empathy is only the third actual song, but I was already struggling to choose a favorite track. I’m still not completely sure what my favorite song is yet. I’m hoping I’ll have that all figured out by the time I’m done writing this. The vocals from BJRNCK are fantastic too. She has a perfect voice for this production. Speaking of the production, I don’t think I’d ever heard Sylvan produce beats before, so I was surprised to see that he made most of the instrumentals on this album. If this was his first attempt at producing his own shit, that’s super impressive. And FUUUUUCK, man… That last verse…
I could be the shoulder you lean and weep all your tears on
Make me feel like king when I make you feel like your fear’s gone
‘Cause you’re not alone
Somebody gets what you been goin’ through
But what about what I’m goin’ through?
Luckily, I built castles around these wild emotions
Flooded waters with liquor potions
Combine, you’ll get mixed explosives
Pretty much everything I described in the prelude to this review is addressed on the album.
Track 8 is about putting yourself first. The word “selfish” has a negative connotation, but taking care of your own problems is definitely more beneficial than trying to please everyone else. I learned that the hard way. The production is still pretty jazzy, but it also incorporates the fast paced hi-hats that are prominent in Trap music.
The placement of Guilt Trip is perfect. It’s basically what happens when Selfish backfires. I feel like they could be one long track. The final verse of Selfish shares the same first word as Guilt Trip. They both have Trap influenced percussion. The Guilt Trip beat sounds like a darker version of Selfish. They even have similar hooks lyrically. If I had to choose one over the other I’d probably go with Guilt Trip, but they’re both really fucking good.
I don’t know the meaning of living inside the moment
Forsake gratitude often, I condone it
I am only human, God knows my components
Eyes in the mirror look at my opponent
Kill a hundred rappers, I send my condolences
That line about the Devil & God being on a seesaw was so fucking dope, and the way the beat evolves at the end is fucking awesome.
Coffee Break is kinda like a spiritual successor to the Farleys Interlude on Far from Familiar. It’s more of a fleshed out song though. It’s not just an interlude. It has the same structure, and the production is still really jazzy & mellow, but Sylvan’s spitting a much more intense verse. It’s probably the most introspective song on the whole album. He just lays everything out in three minutes.
What constitutes the root of suicide?
I know some niggas who cried, came to my side
Nothing but tears in their eyes, like,
“I wish my homie heard your music; he’d probably survive”
Chills down my spine, and what I’m concerned with?
Spotify plays and how to make amends
With niggas I give two fucks about
So I can route how to maximize this clout
The sampled vocals on the song Grateful sound really familiar. At first it reminded me of Wolves by Kanye, but I don’t think that’s where it came from. That mention of Kingdom Hearts got me way more excited than it should have. When I was listening to it I got excited and immediately felt embarrassed even though there was nobody with me. Lmao.
P.O.M.E. is fucking incredible. It’s definitely another contender for my favorite track. Skhye Hutch put his ASS in that production. There’s a different beat for every single verse. Sylvan goes in about being a product of his environment. It kinda reminds me of Lost Niggas & No Love in the City off of Searching Sylvan. That Dragon Ball Z reference was so fucking awesome.
I’m not your friend; me, myself and fuck whoever’s lyin’ in my lion’s den
Jungle lion, man, dead presidents will cease alliances
Peace and silence come ’round like leap years; foolish violence
Pull up, hop out, air out, made it look like Goku’s Kaioken
God fucking damnit. I just had the whole fucking review written, and WordPress FUCKED up. I already talked about Perfect Imperfections, Love & Sacrifice AND 5:55, but it all just got deleted when I tried to paste some lyrics. Smh. And of course the “undo” button didn’t do shit. Whatever. Smh… Anyway, Sylvan’s flow on the second verse is crazy, and GODDAMN that final beat was incredible. That’s definitely my favorite beat on the song. Perfect Imperfections is gonna be on repeat in my head as I’m getting married. I really needed that song. The people I’ve idolized aren’t perfect, but everybody’s perfect to someone. BJRNCK’s vocals are amazing, and it’s got one of the best beats on the album. Love & Sacrifice has another familiar sounding beat. It made me think of Nas the first time I heard it. I could definitely see Q-Tip on that beat too. In fact, a lot of the production on this project reminded me of ATCQ. If there was a modern day equivalent to the Native Tongues, Sylvan would definitely be involved. Sorry, I know I’m kinda speeding through the last few songs, but I already wrote about them, so that’s why I’m kind of impatient right now.
The final track was obviously inspired by JAY-Z’s 4:44. I recently went back and listened to that album again, and GOTDAMN. I forgot how fucking amazing it is. I didn’t talk about the bonus tracks when I originally reviewed it, but you have GOT to hear Adnis if you haven’t already. I love Jay’s somber delivery, and the rhyme scheme on the second verse is incredible. That might actually be my favorite Jay song. It’s just so fucking sad. In an entertaining way tho. It’s cathartic. Anyway, 5:55 sounds like it uses the same sample as Marcy Me. I might be wrong about that. It’s basically the musical equivalent of Jesus Christ coming down to Earth and saying everything’s gonna be okay. That’s a really extreme comparison. I’m basically just tryna say it’s another really comforting song. It’s the perfect way to end the album. It’s got the same celebratory vibe that Dying Words had. Kinda like See Me Now by Kanye. He killed that last verse too.
Teeter totter through the piece & drama
Feed & water spirit while my ego wonders
I be chill pillin’ yet I’m hardly somber
Caught between the Art of War and Dalai Lama
This album is fucking incredible. I didn’t know if it was gonna happen, but he legitimately topped Searching Sylvan. This album has a much more consistent sound, and it went deeper than just good music for me. I know this may sound kinda corny to y’all, but this album has already changed my life more than any other album in recent memory has. It inspired one of, if not THE best piece I’ve ever written, which led to this…
I broke into tears as soon as I read this message from my mother. I didn’t know what to say, and I still don’t. I think this is the first time music has literally resulted in me crying. I can’t remember the last time I cried that hard. I wish I could find the words to say how I felt. It’s definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. So yeah. Sylvan LaCue kinda changed my life. It sounds corny, but that’s literally what happened. It’s not just the lyrical content though. Everything from the production, to the different melodies, to the featured vocalists just gives me the feeling of being comforted by someone I love. This is gonna be my album of the year. I don’t see how anything could top this for me. Maybe Jay Electronica will drop Act II. That’s probably the only thing that could make me reconsider, but even then… It can’t have the same impact on me. This album already happened. There’s not a single wack song on here. There’s not even a single “decent” or “meh” song. Every single track is a must listen. This has to be a big album for Sylvan. It has to. I will be absolutely shocked if this doesn’t propel him further than any other project has so far. I don’t think anyone will be able to surpass it, and I can’t wait to hear even more material from him in the future. I can’t wait to see him blow up and work with other artists I love. This album is a masterpiece in my opinion. It’s dope af without question.
Favorite Song: Empathy
Least Favorite Song: Grateful
Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album
I also wanna highlight two loose singles that Sylvan released between Far from Familiar & Apologies in Advance real quick…
The Truman Show Feat. Xavier Omår
Televised Feat. Rayana Jay
This song was released way back on November 11th in the year of our Lord 2016. It sounds like it could be a throwaway from AiA, but it’s still really good. The beat’s a little repetitive, but aside from that I don’t really have any complaints. I actually had a nightmare that I was in my own version of The Truman Show after listening to this song last night. It was kinda lit. Lmao. The vocals from Xavier Omår are really nice, and I love the second verse. It’s a dope song.
This song was released days after the election of the current U.S. president. Smh. It’s probably my favorite response to that whole situation. He flipped Gil Scott-Heron’s iconic The Revolution Will Not Be Televised speech. His flow on the second verse is fucking incredible, and the beat switch halfway through the song blew my balls clean off. This song is really on par with the material that actually ended up on the album. He killed this shit, and Rayana Jay’s vocals were really nice too. This shit is dope af.