Every artist, from the biggest to the smallest, are always in search of ways to strike as brightly and with as much intensity as a bolt of lightning, hoping to start a sustainable fire with the strike.
Milwaukee emcee and teenager Que unleashed a small lightning strike into the world last month when his song "Can't Keep Running Away" (featuring Patrice Downey) was released. The song is a conscious rap about the reality a lot of teen's face, with the story of a boy who was frequently bullied and the story of a girl that was being molested by an older man as the tales Que uses to urge his peers to have courage and to never succumb to the evil that surrounds them.
"Those are real stories from my life and people that I know. I don't know if that person wants their name stated so I won't tell. The names in the song are subliminal though," Que explains, helping to push forward the actual reality of the track.
Though the song is a result of a school assignment and news that he saw on a local TV station, the fact that this is a tale drawn from real life stories is of course a heartbreaking look at reality once again, and Que is unfortunately used to a harsh reality.
Que is a rapper that has previously been better known for his gangster/hustler style of presentation. This is of course a disappointing route that many young rappers, and adult rappers, take because it's what is popular sales wise in the culture of hip-hop right now. But Que, who grew up in a difficult situation, wants people to know that he is not mimicking what's popular.
"My life was hard so it was only logic for my music to match up," Que said.
However, rapping wasn't always something that he viewed as a potential life-path.
"I started rapping when I was nine years old. I started rapping on accident. I used to rap for the simple fact that I was bored and I had nothing to do," Que said.
Now that his rapping is turning into something more fruitful, he looks back at all of the messing around he once did as being practice for today, and though he doesn't necessarily name names when it comes to who has influenced him, the attitude and intelligence of those who have previously found ways to succeed in music is something that Que is studying very closely.
With a tattoo on one of his forearms that reads "Yung C.E.O" there is no denying that his drive, and the drive of the people behind him, is looking towards success. With a small amount of success surrounding young Que there is really no indication that things will stop for him. There are no guarantees in music of course, especially with the industry constantly becoming smaller and tighter in regards to money, and the question of what is successful and what is not is morphing before our eyes on almost a day-to-day basis.
"Can't Keep Running Away" is a song that has given Que some much needed mileage in reaching his goals. State Senator Lena Taylor has championed the song. V100 has played the song. Ebony magazine has done a feature about the young emcee.
The music video, directed by Adam Bowman, has been on B.E.T. His management firm Full Court Press has been able to arrange interviews with B.E.T. News, Billboard Magazine, The Monique Show, and they are in the process of working out the details for appearances on others shows across the country.
With all of this success and what could be seen as a distraction from his duties as a student, when asked about education and its importance to him, Que shows that making it in the music business isn't his only goal.
"Education is very important to me, and college has been a goal since I hit high school," he said.
He knows that all of this could be temporary and not go beyond the level he's now enjoying, and through all of the work, Que is still focusing on the key thing that any teenager with a dream should focus on.
"I'm trying to have as much fun as I can," Que said.
When all is said and done, whether or not he "makes it" or doesn't, hopefully Que can look back on all of this with a smile and memories of fun and not a sneer with an attitude of "what could've been."
If he does make it, let's hope we get more positivity from him. Let's hope that those who root for him to make it are justified by him using the opportunity to continue setting an example for other teens. They aren't listening to any corny after-school specials but I'd put my money on them listening to Que.
Born in Milwaukee and raised in the Milwaukee suburb of Brown Deer, Concordia University Wisconsin alumnus Poppe has spent the majority of his life in or around the city and county of Milwaukee.
As an advocate of Milwaukee's hip-hop community Poppe began popular local music blog Milwaukee UP in March 2010. Check out the archived entries here.
Though heavy on the hip-hop, Poppe writes about other genres of music and occasionally about food, culture or sports, and is always ready to show his pride in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.