Written By Angie Vargas
Calgary rapper, Lyrique, released his album last week on October 14, 2020: P.I.M.P (Poetry Is My Pleasure), a fresh debut album with 12 flavourful melodic songs. Lyrique, a.k.a Edward Que, came to Canada from the Philippines in 2014 looking for a better way of life. Since he was young, he has always demonstrated passion for music and hip hop. In the Philippines, he was a musician and played bass guitar, classical guitar and piano. In his rap group from when he was younger, Skydive Academy (formed by his bass teacher and him), Lyrique started developing a taste for rap by discussing albums such as ‘Graduation’ by Kanye West or ‘The Black Album’ by Jay-Z. In 2016, his life experiences pushed him to become a rapper. Moving to a foreign country in his twenties was not an easy task and making music was the best way for him to express himself and find therapy in hip hop.
The name of the album, P.I.M.P, juxtapositions pimping, usually associated with sexual acts and making money from sex work. However, in this context, Lyrique uses the letters to express his appreciation for rhythm and poetry. Within the songs in the album, we hear Lyriques’ variant style and flow. The groove of the songs is fresh and unique. With influences from our generation’s greatest poets, the album reflects a similar energy to ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ by Kendrick Lamar (2015), ‘The Divine Feminine’ by Mac Miller (2016) or ‘2014 Forest Hill Drive’ by J.Cole. One can see the influence these artists had on Lyrique and the similarities of their sound. Comparing Lyrique to some of the great artists from the mid 2010’s extends more than just style and technique. The similarities also reflect in their presentation. I always interpreted TPAB as pimping a butterfly being a metaphor for Kendrick’s ownership and reshape of his fame and fortune. Lyrique does it similarly and created a musical legacy out of nothing.
Within the album, the song that caught my attention the most is “Quarantine Flow ”, the seventh song in Lyrique’s album. The song was mixed, mastered and executively produced by DJ Rocswell, the same Calgarian DJ that produced ZHE the Free’s EP, ‘The Love EP’. The name of the song, “Quarantine Flow”, can be interpreted as the speed that we had to switch to during confinement or as the artist’s rhyming patterns developed during the quarantine. Lyrique declared that during his isolation period, he had to switch his own pace and take time for himself to reflect and redirect his craft. Taking this time for self-improvement, Lyrique took a break from social media for 2 months, read more books and listened to a lot of music (old beats he had and music from other artists). The song came about from music journaling he did during quarantine, he would listen to 3 albums every day and journal about them. He also started writing more music, producing and recording during this time. Lyrique has buckets of talent and a strong team: his publicist Juliana, DJ Rockswell and Oliver Banyard, his photographer (among others). On top of that, his style and flow are undeniable! His legacy in Calgary and Western Canada will only keep on growing from here, but for now, we will keep these 12 tracks on repeat!
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