Sylvan LaCue thinks it's time Florida men had their time to shine — not for World Star Hip Hop fame, but for talent, grit, and determination in a place that rarely offers an opportunity for rap artists to succeed on a Los Angeles or New York scale.
LaCue, formerly known as Quest, left for California in 2013. He released his Florida Man project this past July while visiting his native Sunshine State, in dedication to his late grandmother, Ruth Williams. The visual mixtape includes ten videos and tracks from South Florida artists such as Dominican lyricist ListenToSin, x, and Philo B. It was filmed by Jonathan Benavente and directed by Uncle Luke. LaCue aimed to touch base with his community and to encourage people to donate to SoFla charities as his grandmother did.
Recently, the rapper announced his Apologies in Advance Tour. The calendar has no South Florida dates. LaCue says he couldn't come to an understanding with a venue. Ultimately, he would like Miami to have more venues for artists to express themselves.
"It's a bit of a slippery slope because of the lack of opportunity for independent artists," he says. "It's kind of like a double-edged sword. You have all this attention in the city, but there aren't a lot of platforms for the artists that are rocking to be heard."
Despite this lack of artistic foundation, LaCue credits the Magic City as the incubator for Florida Man. He uses his art to express opinions on mental health, loss, and self-care. The demographic of his audience is young people aged 16 and older, so he tries to remain grounded and speak to the human experience. In older posts on his Instagram feed, which has amassed a following of 30,000, he describes his time as a barista and his passion for coffee. It's interesting to see an artist humbly speak of holding a job while trying to make it in California.
For LaCue, it's about wising up and staying true to his message. "I know in my core I'm a person who wants to do good through whatever it is that I do," he says. "Even if my good intentions lead to a terrible road, I always find my way back to the light. With hip-hop, it's interesting. Money and fame make you more of what you already are. My core desire was always to help people. Any time I was going through something, I would think about how I didn't want anyone else to go through it, so I figured the best thing would be to tell people about it, and the music was that outlet for me."
To support charities via Florida Man, visit wiseup.co and check out the site for tour dates and information.