By Jonathan Crane
CALGARY – Lyrique’s new music video “Caught Up” marks one year since the release of “Escape,” the video that established the Calgary rapper’s sound and marked a new chapter in his life.
Originally from the Philippines, Lyrique, Edward Que, began writing “Escape” after becoming a Canadian resident last March. He’d been in the country for almost four years at that point, but the circumstances he faced as an immigrant made it difficult to concentrate on music with the exception of some open-mic nights. But once his status was obtained, it opened a veritable floodgate, transformed his open-mic mindset into that of an aspiring recording artist.
“When I got my residency, I think that’s when I went full force on it with different projects, getting more opportunities and shows,” says Que. “It was really a huge outlet for me, that’s when I think I found my sound.”
What stands out about “Escape” is the seamless fusion between “boom-bap” style conscious rapping and soulful vocal deliveries.
“This is I the sound that I’m comfortable with and that makes me stand out because it made me sing more,” say Que. “In my old tracks I was just rapping to old boom-bap tracks. The sound is respectable, but it was too generic.”
To be successful in today’s hip-hop climate, he feels rappers need to think outside of the confines of genre lines.
“Nowadays basing things on genre doesn’t really matter. You have to look at music on a wider spectrum, mix different genres.”
Que also claims that the new wave of hip-hop artists are more risky in their lyrical delivery, which can be attributed to the priorities of rappers shifting over time.
“The music is there, the artistry is there, but being serious and writing it isn’t there as much. Whereas in old school music I think people took more seriousness, or more caution into what they wrote in their lyrics.”
The diverse flow of “Escape” effectively combined both eras, and with this unique stylistic formula Que began feverishly connecting with producers and writing lyrics for an EP.
In September 2016 he released What’s In A Name, then followed it up with 14 A Street a month later, and The Summer Tape this past August. The frequency of his live performances have been equally as ambitious, with appearances at notable venues like this year’s One Love music festival, FozzyFest, The HiFi Club, and 10 at 10.
Even Que himself is astonished at the rate his music has snowballed over the past year. Still, he maintains a humble view of himself, preferring to think of his supporters as friends rather than fans.
“The past year has been crazy, since I figured out my work situation and residency situation in Canada everything music-wise has been crazy,” he says. “I mean, I don’t want to sound overzealous and confident that I’m doing big shit In Calgary, I’m just a guy who likes to do music, enjoys it, enjoys the rush of performing, and enjoys the love and support that I get.”
Lyrique’s new video, “Caught Up” is now on YouTube.blues, Caught Up, Lyrique