New Musical Express (NME) - 80 Based on rating 4/5
On his likeable debut album, the Internet member and prolific collaborator balances wistful musical throwbacks with authentic lyricism and attitude Not many artists can say that by their 21st birthday they have writing, production and feature credits spanning the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, Solange, Dev Hynes, J Cole, Kali Uchis and Mac Miller. Never mind doing it all alongside their own burgeoning career and membership in one of R&B's most revered groups today, The Internet. But on ‘Apollo XXI’, released today, the day after his 21st birthday, Steve Lacy reminds us once again that age is just a number.
Though seldom acknowledged, there's long been a kinship between hip-hop and bedroom pop, two genres whose music is often given life by bored teenagers in home studios cobbled together from egg cartons, bedsheets, and cracked copies of FL Studio. There are clear differences between the two styles, of course, but the aesthetic features of DIY hip-hop and lo-fi pop are often products of necessity. Steve Lacy's music is where those two musical traditions intersect.
A s a teenager, Steve Lacy released two albums with funk troupe the Internet, one of them Grammy-nominated; he also released a solo EP, and, often building beats purely on his iPhone, worked with Kendrick Lamar, Solange, Vampire Weekend and many others. He also became a Louis Vuitton model. At 20, most of us are happy merely to have got laid and been on a plane; Lacy however is now also independently releasing his debut album and, gallingly, it's really very good indeed.
"Wonderkid", "heartthrob", "genius": the first album by Steve Lacy has been well and truly hyped. Apart from his work with The Internet, he's joined up with Blood Orange, Kendrick Lamar, Solange and, more recently, Vampire Weekend. The Compton musician and producer turned 21 on the eve of its release. The ambition behind 'Apollo XXI' was already easily perceptible on singles like 'Playground', whose energy could best be termed 'Yung Prince', and becomes clearer still over the course of its other 11 songs.