Once or so often in a generation of artists, you come across music that speaks to you in a way nothing before it had the ability to do. Not that its any better than anything you’ve ever heard before, just that it moves you in a way that has never been quite like how you feel that first time you encounter it. Its almost like walking out of an epic film that just opened doors to a reality that you never knew existed. It has an even more profound impact than we’re typically consciously aware of in that moment—as it’ll likely influence us time and time again, after that initial moment of discovery has passed.
The first time I heard OnCue was late 2011. I’d seen his work posted on numerous reputable hip-hop blogs before that time, but for some reason it never dawned on me to give him a listen until I stumbled across his music video, Feel Tall—which was the lead single to his critically acclaimed 2011 project “Can’t Wait.” A project that to this day stands out, in my humble opinion, as one of the greatest Rap releases of this last decade. Even today it still has a unique impact on me during times of confusion and aggravation.
There’s an emotion and sonic brilliance in OnCue’s music that is only present in a select few in the recording artist world. Its that refined understanding of who one is as an artist and what they aim to achieve with their work that allows for Cuey to stand out from many of his peers. While today’s popular rap lacks in its musical originality and has become more monotonous and repetitive than ever before, OnCue has mastered the ways of the Jedi warrior as an artist/songwriter. His infusion of indie-pop style melodies & production samples laced w/powerful & emotive lyricism has branded his unique sound to a tee; offering his listeners not only quality in his work, but consistency as well.
After the release of Can’t Wait, fans would, ironically enough, have to wait 3 more years before receiving Oncue’s next project. But when that day did come in the form of Angry Young Man, it was evident the babyfaced marauder of melodies and words hadn’t lost a step. Truth be told, if AYM didn’t somehow outdo its predecessor, they’re both equally neck and neck. Not only had OnCue solidified himself to be one of the most promising up and coming artists of the post-Drake era, he gained notoriety from the hip-hop industry at large by linking up w/legendary hitmaker Just Blaze to serve as executive producer on Angry Young Man.
While both the music and visuals from AYM were as powerful and moving as his previous project, it didn’t seem to garner Cuey that final push he needed to grant him entrance into consciousness of the mainstream. While plenty of us fans, myself included, were expecting to see any of AYM’s numerous radio-worthy singles on billboard charts, Hip-Hop was in an odd transitioning point where focus was shifted away from blog placements and more on organic movements being built from extensive numbers being streamed on platforms like Spotify and Soundcloud via viral song efforts from the then budding underground artists that would soon breakaway head first to be the media darlings of today.
So here we are 3 more years, 2 EP’s a Mixtape and a single later & it seems OnCue has once again adapted to his surroundings to keep his footing as a hitmaker on deck and ready to make his mark in this fluctuating fickle world that is hip-hop/rap music. Shortly after the release of his latest effort “Perfectly Tragically flawed” it was announced that Cuey landed a songwriting credit on Eminem’s 2018 Revival album w/the Alicia Keys assisted “Like Home.”
With such a heralded accolade now under his belt I feel it won’t be long before OnCue’s star is starting to finally shine bright enough for the world to see as its just a matter of time before the rest of the industry catches on. Of course in today’s numbers game obsessed climate, the modern day brand of Rap fans still seem to be asleep at the wheel as none of Cuey’s Youtube vids have yet to crack a million views; It Usually Goes (released in March 2011) is close w/823,182 at this current moment and his channel itself sits at a modest 19k subscribers. His Spotify however has 2 songs w/over a million plays & his monthly listening audience is at 128k and growing daily.
While OnCue has now established himself as a seasoned veteran in Hip-Hop with over 10 years of experience in this game, there’s still plenty more to be written about this insanely talented 28 yr old artist hailing from Newling, Connecticut. Its for this reason I’ve watched his journey from afar since the moment I pressed play on his YouTube video for Feel Tall just a few short years ago. While I have no doubt his core fans are as passionate about and supportive as his work as I am, I’m still waiting to see what the industry has in store for easily one of my favorite artists of the past decade, especially w/an iconic figure like Just Blaze at the helm as executive producer. Regardless of where his story goes from here, I’m proud to say I’m not only a fan & die-hard supporter of OnCue but have also been greatly influenced by his work as an artist and music professional & do hope the world at large finally recognizes the genius in his work.
In case you’re unfamiliar with OnCue’s music, we’ve shared a couple visuals, both older and newer for your viewing pleasure along with a specially crafted playlist featuring some of our favorite cuts from Cuey’s catalogue. So give him a listen, dive into his catalogue and recognize standout talent in all its storied glory.
Oncue – Feel Tall
Oncue – Rent Money
My Name’s Cuey, Mann!! – A Spotify Playlist by NMR