If you type “Steve Lacy” into the Google search bar, we inevitably come across a more famous namesake: Steve Lacy (1934-2004), saxophonist and composer from New York, and member of a free-jazz group with pianist Cecil Taylor… But the one we’re interested in today comes from Compton, on the other side of the USA, the explosive fiefdom of hip hop’s bad boys. Born in 1998, Steve Lacy is way more sensible though than some of his Californian neighbours. At just 20 years of age, his is the type of precocity that annoys the egos of more established musicians: when he turned 18, he joined the band The Internet, he recently collaborated with Blood Orange on the album Negro Swan (2018), and he’s composed for Solange, Denzel Curry, Ravyn Lenae and the much missed Mac Miller.
On stage, Steve Lacy proudly wears dungarees and tightens the strap of his Fender to the max, so the six strings of the instrument almost seem to make his pectorals vibrate. The attitude speaks volumes, this isn’t a rock star but a soul boy who refuses to sport his guitar low. During concerts performed by his collective, he plays his own compositions, intoning the melodies ofRyd and Dark Red into his tiny microphone, a remnant of the overexcited divas of the early 2000s. A video brings together these two tracks and has already accumulated more than 11 million views on YouTube. In his buttoned-up denim jacket, he sways in a launderette before winding up in the trunk of a car, lit only by the flame of his lighter.
Last June Steve Lacy, dressed in baggy pants and a transparent t-shirt strutted down the catwalk at Virgil Abloh’s resolutely streetwear first show for Louis Vuitton.