The Florida rap scene has grown a reputation for SpaceGhostPurrp and his Raider Klan, but there are other rising talents coming up fast. Visionary Music Group’s QuESt garnered a lot of attention for his revealing Searching Sylvan mixtape, and is focused on making a bigger name for himself. “I’ve been putting out music for so long. Just on my own level, just trying to get certain blogs and doing what I have to do,” says QuESt. ‘With this project, I really took a precise moment to kind of chill out and say, “OK, let me build my fanbase and kind of move in a different direction through touring and just meeting other people.’ And then, just releasing a platform that it can be heard on a bigger level. It’s an amazing feeling. I am just rolling with it.”
In The Break, the 24-year-old MC details his influences, style comparisons and why he’s confident he’ll be a legend in the game.
Hometown: Miami, Fl.
I grew up listening to: When I first started out, I was listening to Bow Wow and I was listening to Ja Rule heavily just because those were the guys at the time. 2001-2002. Then, I got into a lot of Nas and I became a really big Nas head for a while. I got into a lot of Canibus, a lot of Big Pun [for] the flow, the technique. Mos Def, Common. Then I really started getting heavily into Jay Z and then I really started getting heavily into Lupe. Just diving into the elements of being the best MC that possibly I could be. From that aspect, those are the guys that I used to grow up on. And you know, Kanye West as well.
Most people don’t know I: At one point, I was in high school going for a degree in marketing. That was my thing. I wanted to do it for a while. Like, it was always in the back of my head. I’m just gonna rap and I’ma go to college for marketing and I am just gonna do my thing.
At the time, I was really into ideas because I wanted to get my music out in some type of way, so I would press up CDs on my own. One of my pre-mature plans was “OK, I’m gonna go to college. I’ma gonna rap. I’ma go and study a degree for marketing and law. I’m just gonna learn the business and I’ma do my thing.” Of course, when I was 17, I ran into some issues with my mom and getting kicked out and whatnot. And then, the Internet came. The first official XXL Freshman came, and then Drake came with So Far Gone. It was just phenomena: You can upload to ZShare, and you can get to a blog. He just took over. From that aspect on, it was just like, “OK, I’m just gonna be a rapper.” I’m just gonna get out, I’m gonna leave, and I’m gonna do what I gotta do.
My style’s been compared to: I’ve always had the Jay comparison. I think really is because of my voice. I don’t think really anything else. Maybe flow. Jay is a huge influence. Lately, it’s been a lot of Kendrick. I think it’s because of the project and how it has been perceived. I’ve always gotten a Lupe because Lupe admittedly has a been a huge influence in my life. It’s in my style. Those are the three major factors right now.
My standout records and/or moments to date have been: Right now, it’s been “Hunger,” “Automatic,” and a song called “Lost Niggas.” Those have been the standout records so far. “Hunger” is really lyric-driven. And it’s just strong lyrically. Anybody who just raps really, really well, they’re going to gravitate towards it. It’s the standpoint of if you have a great record, and you are rapping your ass off, people are just going to appreciate it. It’s the same factor with Kendrick and “Control.” It’s the same thing with “Automatic.” And “Lost Niggas,” I think it’s very accessible with today’s market. It has a drill feel. It’s very aggressive and it has a slow-bounce, aesthetic to it as well.
This record on my new album called “Dying Words.” It’s really the core of who I am. It’s just that ’94, ’95 tempo. Soulful. Pianos. Thought-provoking. Introspective. That’s kind of what my style has always been. That’s what it’s based on. It’s one of those records—at least a lot of my day-one fans—they kind of been like “this is the QuESt I’ve known since 2009 when you were grinding and trying to get on illRoots.”
My goal in hip-hop is: There are a lot of things I want to do. There are a lot of aspirations that I have that I have to feel and personally achieve to work towards. For me, it’s about impacting people’s lives in a positive way with my music. I think at the end of the day, when it comes down to it, regardless of the success I want, the fame I want, the notoriety I want and how I want to be perceived, whoever I want to be around to get me to a certain level or a certain click that is. At the end of the day, if I can impact people’s lives in a positive way through my music, it was all worth it.
I’m gonna be the next: Legend. I know where I am at. I know who I am. It’s not in a sense where I’m like, “Yeah, I’m about to be Jay. I’m about to do this. I’m about to do that.” That’s not where I am at. When I say legend, I know that I’ll be that in my own right. I know where I am at right now and I know where I am starting at. I believe in that and that’s all there is to it. There’s a lot of legendary MCs, and that’s all I aspired to be.
Also check out: “Lost Niggas”
And: “NEATO Season”