Apollo XXI – Steve Lacy (Review)

Compton, California’s own Steve Lacy has finally released his studio debut album and I gotta say this album may have just rocked my mindset on album of the year. Steve Lacy is a member of Los Angeles based band The Internet and has been finding a growing following that started in 2017 with singles like “Dark Red” and features with other artist like Tyler, the Creator and Kali Uchis. Steve Lacy is also producing with many of your favorite artist like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Denzel Curry and even the late Mac Miller. Now this album is one of the dopest sounding albums out with the likes of “IGOR” by Tyler, the Creator or even Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love” released back in 2016. This album honestly feels like a beautiful blend of “Maggot Brain” by Funkadelic, some Al Green and Earth, Wind and Fire with a dash of synth and lo-fi, this album alone has some beautiful sounds that I found myself lost in while listening.

“Apollo XXI” – Steve Lacy (5/24/2019)

“Only If” is the opener and I gotta say out the gates I’m hooked. This songs production draws me in and has me bumping my head not even 15 seconds in. Lacy’s lyrics make me feel as if Steve is trying to tell you as a listener that we all make mistakes and that as humans that is okay because we will grow from those mistakes. The hook is so beautiful song as I love Lacy’s voice. “Like Me” is also another very interesting song, it contains 4 beat shifts and goes from reggae funk to R&B, then to lo-fi and finally to soul, indie. Each portion of this song is unique and could have been 4 seperate tracks but I think it’s beauty rest in being one big, long song. “Playground” has this funky, Earth, Wind and Fire or Jackson 5 vibe to it. This is a nice song to dance to and probably have a summer cookout too. Track 4 titled “Basement Jack” definitely has more a hip-hop and indie type feel and sound to it, loved production on this guy for sure. “Guide” see’s Lacy channeling his inner James Brown, hitting some high notes to a funky drum and bass line, it has a James Brown and Gorillaz vibe to it. Track 6 titled “Lay Me Down” has a seductive background vocal that plays over the entire track while a guitar rift follows behind, this song is that Funkadelic type sound that I feel Lacy is drawing creativity from.

“Hate CD” has a focus on Steve singing, almost mimicking a country singers way of singing in my opinion which isn’t bad at all. Michael McDonald is who I think of listening to this song, It’s very peaceful and moving with the production. “In Lust We Trust” is a clever title and song, due to the play on “In God We Trust”, the song plays with the idea of you, lusting over a person or passion and only wanting to “enter their car”. Now I am no scientist but I will stretch my theory that the car serves as what you want to be able to be in, that the car is homebase and you’re hoping to hit the ball out of the park. “Love 2 Fast” continues the love theme, this time speaking more on how people fall into love way to quick and end up being in a cycle of disappointment, pain and hollowness. “Amandla’s Interlude” features Amandla Stenberg and is a beautiful song, the vibe I get from this is something straight out of Game Of Thrones or Naruto Shippuden. A dope song to listen too at night. “N Side” is a very slow, soft played song that builds up and than calms down, very good song to play before the final track. The final track, “Outro Freestyle/4ever” plays out real slow too. After a 2 minute little freestyle from Steve Lacy the track stops, you think oh it’s just over but then like a foul ball in baseball that second beat hits you in the face and you start to feel it. I started to feel myself groove to this final part of the album, the vocals and beat really made me feel that groovy vibe and I couldn’t help but dance to it.

Overall Steve Lacy was the best blue-balling artist next to Lil Uzi Vert. I feel this album has strong runs for album of the year. The blend of multiple genres like R&B, soul, funk, indie etc shows the level of passion Lacy has to make a uniquely sounding album. This is on some “Illmatic” type shit, keep in mind this is his first official studio album besides a EP titled “Steve Lacy’s Demo”. This is a great LP, I think this needs more attention and deserves a listen, that’s my honest opinion. Favorite songs have to be “Only If”, “Like Me” and “Amandla’s Interlude.” Check this LP out, don’t sleep on this bumping album.

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