About Steve Lacy
Throughout the 2010s, Los Angeles was America’s epicenter for forward-thinking Black music across the mainstream-to-underground spectrum. There were the hip-hop heavyweights of the Top Dawg Entertainment stable, the indie-rap provocateurs of the Odd Future crew, the electronic/jazz experimentalists of the Brainfeeder family—and standing at the intersection of all these game-changing forces was Steve Lacy. Born in Compton in 1998, Lacy (né Lacy-Moya) first surfaced as the teen wunderkind guitarist/producer for Odd Future offshoot The Internet, shaping their woozy funk atmospheres with beats he created on his iPhone. After The Internet’s 2015 opus, Ego Death, earned Lacy a Grammy nomination before he’d finished high school, his lo-fi approach attracted some high-profile clientele, and he’d go on to leave his smudged fingerprints on J. Cole’s chart-topping 4 Your Eyez Only and Kendrick Lamar’s epochal DAMN., among many others. All the while, Lacy was laying the groundwork for his own solo career, updating Prince’s psych-soul auteurism for a post-Mac DeMarco bedroom-pop age on endearingly off-the-cuff singles like “Dark Red” and “C U Girl.” (That tightrope walk between R&B swagger and outsider aesthetics carries over to his guest features for urbano star Kali Uchis, indie kingpins Vampire Weekend, and avant-funk maestro Thundercat.) His reputation as a certified vibe-master well established, Lacy revealed more of himself on his 2019 full-length debut, Apollo XXI, using the epic alt-rap suite “Like me” to address his bisexuality and fear of coming out. But that sort of candor is perfectly suited to his musical m.o.—whether he’s beatmaking on his phone or opening his heart, Lacy always puts a premium on honesty and intimacy.