Words by Trevor Polk
Images by Various Artists
To really understand an artist, you need to know their story. Geoff “OnCue” Sarubbi started his journey when he was 20 years old. Music was always his passion, and after a breakup in 2010 he decided to move from Connecticut to Brooklyn, New York to start taking his career seriously.
Can’t Wait established a coherent sound for OnCue; a unique mix of singing and rapping over sample-heavy instrumentals. A dream that he cultivated when he was just 9 years old had finally come to fruition, and the possibility of making a living off of music was within his reach. While it showcased what Cuey was capable of, this project was only the beginning. The atmosphere at the time was hopeful and promising, but in the years to come Geoff would face obstacles and road blocks, and would have to battle his friends, family, and inner demons to keep his dream alive.
Cuey worked with CJ Luzi for the majority of his production on “Can’t Wait”, and would continue to work with him up until his 2014 album, “Angry Young Man”. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Between those two projects was a plethora of trials and tribulations, a handful of songs — some good, some subpar — and countless hours in the studio. The Brooklyn-based prodigy lost his momentum; a vision that was once clear became hazy in the months following his release of “Can’t Wait”, and he’d spend the next 3 years fighting his way to the top. What could have been written off as a pipe dream has been molded into a tangible future through hours of studio time, self-growth, and solidarity.
“Ambition killed my innocence”
- OnCue | Don't Forget Your Coat (2014)
The next prominent project that OnCue released was titled Leftovers 2, and featured a handful of familiar names like Skizzy Mars, Ro Ransom, and Sonny Shotz. Released in late 2013, it was our first sign that Cuey hadn’t given up on his pursuit of a career in music. The production wasn’t very coherent, the mixing and mastering could have been better, but lyrically it was some of his best work. Say what you will about his vulgarity and his sample-heavy sound, but one thing that you can’t deny him of is his authenticity. From the start, OnCue has written material that depicts where he’s at in life; while many musicians feel that talking about cars and money that they don’t have will appeal to a wider audience, he believes that the realest music will attract the realest fans, and from what we’ve seen, he’s right.
The whole next year was spent working on his baby, AYM. He marketed himself well and dropped a couple of singles to hold fans over, including one of his most played songs to date “DFSM” which has accrued over half a million streams on Soundcloud alone. The song talked about his grind, spending money he didn’t have, and working to prove his doubters wrong. It’s an easy message to empathize with, while some of his other material is more situational and specific. The Ratatat produced instrumental was hot too, but what we took away, however, was that his best work has yet to come.
Creating Angry Young Man was described by OnCue as his “most revealing” project to date. He felt that AYM voiced his thoughts better than any of it’s predecessors, which explains why he pushed back the release date. He wanted it to be perfect, not for the fans, but for himself. He needed to feel that this project represented everything he wanted it to.
While faith wavered for some, true fans waited patiently for Cuey’s latest work of art. In September 2014, their stoicism was rewarded with an extremely versatile, full-length project that showcased not just the improvement in production, mixing, and mastering quality, but the capability of OnCue as a musician. AYM was a turning point, and it set the bar for Cue.
After letting the project earn some hype and going on an extremely successful tour, OnCue got back in the saddle for a new project — one that would be for the fans, rather than for himself. He started with the release of “Eat Your Heart Out”, and continued dropping a song a month while he simultaneously worked on his first full-length album.
OnCue quit smoking weed to get his head straight, and whether or not it coincides with the incredible new material he’s been putting out is for you to decide. His fallout with CJ Luzi was addressed in his single “Time”, and he explained his own hiatus openly. Soon after he announced the title of his forthcoming project: Perfectly, Tragically, Flawed.
While the full-length project was meant to be released last summer, he decided against it and instead continued dropping hot new singles that would collectively be released as an EP titled You Knew All Along in November of 2016. The 6-track mini-project surpassed AYM in plays in under a month, and set the stage for an album in 2017.