Lyrique: a Filipino Artist in the Flow of Words & Beats
Filipino-Canadian rapper Lyrique (Edward Que) from Calgary has released the video for his latest song Ivory off his EP Saints of the Summer. With four EPs and a few singles to his credit, Lyrique is hard at work on his first full length album, Lust, Art, Liquor.
But who is Lyrique (pronounced Ly-ric)? Lyrique, Edward Que in real life, is from Baguio City, a nursing student and call center agent, who moved to Canada in 2014 under the Temporary Foreign Workers program. Battling with homesickness and a loss of family and emotional support, he turned to music as a form of therapy and an outlet for his feelings of isolation. His initial foray into music was learning to play different kinds of instruments. He always loved writing and composing music, and being a fan of hip hop, eventually found himself into rap.
Using the moniker Lyrique, his music has a strong focus on lyricism, cadence and flow. “I really put effort into wordplay. I may not be the deepest writer/rapper when it comes to metaphors but I always make sure the songs I write have a story. I try to make sure the punchlines work to the listeners’ appeal. As for the spelling of Lyrique, I added the Que as a reminder of who I am at the end of the day, as Que is my last name.”
In Calgary, he started with open mics at Cafe Koi every Friday. These hip hop open mics were performing and learning opportunities where he studied and learned how to rev up a crowd, do breath control, and make sure words are pronounced correctly. “I always loved performing, and performing your own songs just make it better. I always get this rush when it comes to performances. I also noticed that there weren’t many Filipino rappers in the scene, so I want to be one of those representing my culture, and to establish my own identity in hip hop culture as well.”
Lyrique’s turning point came when he performed at the 10 at 10 stage in Calgary, a platform that promotes Canadian artists and hip hop culture - whether it be in music, dance and art. It was around this time as well that he received permanent resident status in Canada, which allowed him to focus more on his music, i.e. how to be a better rapper/artist, increase his social media presence, and be a part of Canadian guilds for music artists. “I enjoy the hustle and I find every day is an opportunity for growth. I have people who help me out in amplifying my craft such as videographers, producers, sound engineers and other artists as well. I keep my unit small but tight, but most of the time I do things myself. I book shows myself, do the graphic art and press releases myself. All in all, it’s still an unending process. Art is beautiful but inevitable, just like growth.”
Lyrique has become a staple in the Calgary hip hop scene. He performs solo, in acoustic duets and trios, with a DJ or together with a band. He is a member of the Alberta music collective/label, The Honor Roll Music Collective, along with named artists K-riz, Karimah, Rebecca Janz and Josh Sahunta to name a few.
Lyrique’s latest EP is Saints of Summer. When asked why Saints of Summer, “The title had a nice ring to it but in reality what is a saint? A saint is someone holy and free. In the summer we feel a certain melancholy where we all feel a certain cleanse from the cold. But that being said, we all let loose in our own havens in the summer - be it in parties, festivals or out of town trips.” “The other songs on the EP touch different vibes. On GOD is me rapping about how I will make an impact this summer on God. There are tracks like R.O.Y and Pulp Fiction which are just easy going tracks on living your dreams and at the same time being a product of your environment and having fun with it.” Another single is Marathon. “Marathon is a confidence song. I’m still the shy type, a socially awkward person. Marathon made me confident in who I am. I’ve gone this far so why not take ownership of it.” The track was produced and engineered by DJ Rocswell.
Ivory, with its recent video release, is also from the same EP. The afro-beats inspired track is produced by Niko and LCS, mixed and mastered by AMAURHI and features backup vocals from K-Riz and Oozela. The video was created and filmed by Oliver Banyard. “Ivory is basically a love song. My girlfriend is a huge fan of afro beats so I gave this vibe a shot. The hook I have for the song is a line I wrote two years ago which I never really used. It just so happened that the hook fit this beat perfect and that set the whole idea of the song. The title came with the beat and it
just had a nice ring to it. Ivory, which is a representation of love, is a material on the strongest emotion in the world.” The video has guest appearances by his girlfriend Kirstin Wilson, and some of his close friends DJ C-Sik, Mayowa/Mo’, Amaurhi and Jared Daniel.
Lyrique is now working on a full length album, Lust, Art, Liqour. To know more about Lyrique and his music, check out Instagram and Facebook: iamlyrique, YouTube: Lyrique Music, stream “Ivory” on Spotify and Apple Music, or purchase the EP Saints in the Summer on https://fanlink.to/saintsinthesummer.
Photo credits: Val Parenas (@vparenas), Esther Cho (@estherchophotography), Oliver Banyard (@oliverbanyard)
* This article was published in the November 2019 issue of the Alberta Filipino Journal.