First Impressions | QuESt “Searching Sylvan”

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Music, like any artform, is only digested fully with time. The best forms of the art have many layers to peel back and one can’t truly get the full experience from one listen, but an impression most certainly can be left. Some even say the first impression is the purest so, with our First Impression segments, we’ll be tackling new music from all over, describing what we get from the artist’s work, and expressing immediate stand outs from each work.

To debut this feature, we’re tackling QuESt out of Miami and his VMG debut Searching Sylvan. This fellow has been all over the site in the last few weeks in preparation for this release and now we have the final project in our hands. Continue on as Knight of the Turntable members discuss the project along with guest K1ng Eljay, the EIC at The Redefined who wrote up 5 Things To Know About Searching Sylvan with words from QuESt himself.


QuESt may have been Searching Sylvan, but his new mixtape might just have you searching inside yourself. This Miami emcee takes us through a sprawling narrative full of introspection, neo-soul and all the tribulations that come with growing up. Impeccably paced, Searching Sylvan finds its footing from the first skit and stays steady straight to the outro. Thematically relatable, QuESt asks the listener how one can manage their dreams while still dealing with reality; it’s a question worth pondering to a record worth spinning.

Favorite Track(s): “Automatic”

Joe Hova (Joe Hova’s Mindframe)

The majority of my friends I’ve made through writing have all tried to put me on to Quest’s music. I’ve listened to a few tracks here and there but it just didn’t strike me the same way it did them. Today I listened to his new project Searching Sylvan and while I was intrigued by some of the tracks, portions of it felt like I had heard a better version of the track before. For instance, take “Biscayne Blvd”: doesn’t that sound like the poor man’s version of Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice”? I can’t shake the fact that he sounds like Lamar when he harmonizes on songs (like “C.O.T. Dreams Dreams Dreams”) and that made me want to quit listening. SS has a concept that you have to listen to from beginning to end to understand (sound familiar) and while there are great tracks littered throughout, it’s too long for my taste.

Favorite Track(s): “Make It Out Alive”, “Erase Me”, “May 10th, 2012”

K1ng Eljay (The Redefined)

It’s interesting how life works. I’ve been following QuESt since his project Broken Headphones was forced upon me by my old connection, and it’s been a fun ride ever since. Even with his development, the parallels between my life and his, the friendship that came out of us both pursuing our dreams, and more… I had high hopes for this project. Not just for me, but for everyone else that NEEDED to hear his story.

Even with all of that, I think he underestimated how much people relate to his story. I have nothing but praise for how it flows and I’m hoping this proves that VMG CAN make that mature, relatable rap music that stands the test of time thanks to his addition. Only time will tell, though.

Favorite Track(s): “The Ride”, “Hunger”, Maybe I Should”


Searching Sylvan is instantly relatable for me. The decision between chasing your dream and having to ask for help or just dropping it in favor of something you clearly aren’t passionate about is something I recently overcame (chose the former) and going back to square one to gather yourself can be an incredibly humbling experience. On top of me connecting to that concept, which this project is founded upon, QuESt delivers a sonically and lyrically pleasing project that will certainly be in the discussion for project of the year when everything comes down to it.

Favorite Track(s): “Dreams Dreams Dreams”, “Automatic”, “Struggle Rapper”

Take a listen to the full release down below and download the project here. Share your own impression in the comments below.

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