Steve Lacy snapped on this one. The guitarist/bassist of The Internet (and acclaimed producer for Solange and J. Cole, as well as featured collaborator on Vampire Weekend's Father of the Bride) presents a kaleidoscopic tour of funk and R&B styles on his debut solo album Apollo XXI. The sound and drive heard on the album are deeply indebted to the freaky early days of Prince Rogers Nelson, from the way Lacy stylizes song titles (“Love 2 Fast,” “N Side,” “4ever”) to his voice, which ranges from growly lows to pleading, teasing falsetto.
“Guide” has Dirty Mind on its mind, while “Playground” jumps on the one with funk guitar and slap bass. The nine-minute shape-shifter “Like Me” sparkles with psychedelic touches, as if he’s hitched a ride on the P-Funk mothership. On “Lay Me Down,” Lacy masters the art of patient seduction, taking his time to do it right, while “Basement Jack” and “Hate CD” feel like something Frank Ocean would ride to. Sprinkled among these gems are spontaneous bursts of creativity like “Amandla’s Interlude” and “Outro Freestyle/4ever,” which show Lacy exploring the outer limits of expression and spirituality.