Syd tha Kyd may be the most recognizable face—and voice—in the band, but Steve Lacy is slowly emerging as The Internet’s latest solo star.
After meeting Jameel Bruner, The Internet’s keyboardist and Thundercat’s brother, as a high school freshman, Lacy soon began playing bass and making beats for what would become Ego Death, the band’s GRAMMY-nominated breakthrough album. “It was just funny cause I had no idea what the fuck I was doing — I was just doing it,” Steve toldThe FADER. “I just laid down what I thought of.”
What he lacks in age and experience, however, Lacy makes up for in raw talent. The breadcrumbs of Ego Death’s soulful, groovy sound can be traced back to Steve’s inconspicuous SoundCloud page, which he’s updated sporadically over the last two years with short snippets and ideas that showcase his budding brilliance. Like “atomic vomit,” a delicate slice of funk that sounds like if Toro Y Moi started rapping, and “DOTHERS MAY SONG,” an absolutely gorgeous ode to his mother that needs to be made into a full song stat.
Now 18 and out of high school, Lacy is riding his talent all the way to the top. This year alone, he toured with The Internet across Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, produced a song on Big Sean and Jhené Aiko’s TWENTY88 project, and appeared on Kali Uchis’ “Only Girl” alongside Vince Staples. The video for the song highlights Lacy’s other God-given gift: his Pharrell-esque sex appeal. “Steve Lacy can impregnate me,” one comment reads. Hey, he’s a good looking kid.
The Internet is set to release the follow-up to Ego Death next spring, but not before we get solo projects from all, if not most, of the group members—including Steve. A few days ago, he released a new single and video called “Some,” which serves as the first taste of his upcoming, aptly-titled solo project Steve Lacy’s Demo. And it’s already shaping up to be something special.
Knee-deep in ’70s funk, “Some” is a good old-fashioned love ballad that features smoky riffs and playful vocal inflections. “I know there’s lots of love in your heart, but who you gonna give it to?” Steve asks with a wink. The video, meanwhile, finds Lacy channeling John Cusack in Say Anything, setting up his guitar and amplifier on the lawn of a girl’s house to ask her to prom. Only, as many young music nerds might, he balks at the last minute and eventually gets run over by a car. Ouch.
Vintage sounds and charming visuals aside, “Some” is even more impressive when you consider how it was made. According to Steve, he recorded the whole thing on his iPhone (he even has the GarageBand file to prove it). A young kid with an old soul making timeless-sounding music on a device that’s built to last 12 months—that’s natural talent right there. His mom knew it when she urged him to join the school jazz band, Jameel knew it when he invited him to the studio in 10th grade, and now Steve himself is beginning to realize his limitless potential.
By Andy James, whose only gripe with "Some" is that it's not long enough. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: The FADER