The ever-elusive Steve Lacy is certainly a “myth” and a “legend” in his own right.
Following his debut solo effort, Apollo XX1 (2019) and 2020 project The Lo-Fis, the Compton-based multihyphenate’s return was met with praise from both new listeners and longtime fans in July. Touting 10 total tracks and running for 35 minutes, the “Dark Red” emcee’s latest effort is largely self-produced and is also co-written by Fousheé — who boasts a slew of writing credits and is featured on Gemini’s third and final single “Sunshine.”
Off the heels of the album’s chart dominance — with “Bad Habit” achieving a No. 1 berth on the Billboard Hot 100 on Monday (Oct. 3) — the two-time Grammy nominee also is gearing up for his “Give You The World Tour.” Kicking off in Denver on Sunday (Oct. 2), the North American trek sees Lacy on the road for nearly six weeks, with his final stop being in Los Angeles on Nov. 11. The sold-out tour also includes special guest and Gemini co-pilot Foushee.
As far as the album, Gemini Rights feels as if you teleported to another world — lifted by Lacy’s otherwordly, cinematic song structures and poignant production all throughout. In light of its gradiose soundscape, he took to Instagram on the night of Gemini’s release to thank fans for the constant support they’ve given amid his absence. “This feels so surreal. I can’t explain it,” the 24-year-old wrote. “I think I’ll be able to tell you about it in a couple months but for now I’ll enjoy this newness. Thank you guys for all the love and support I promise it doesn’t go unnoticed.”
In a recent press release, Lacy further explained the overall essence of his new album, describing Gemini Rights to be “savage, hilarious, tender, sexy, gender fluid, heartbroken, forthright, polyamorous, full of longing, and wears its heart on its sleeve in the best ways possible.”
“My whole philosophy on music is, well, one, get in, get out. I don’t want to take people’s lives. I want them to make a decision to want to keep playing it again. I try my best to make my music to where you want to do that again. I produced about 90% of the record, still. I tried to be like, ‘Oh, I need an executive producer, da, da, da.’ But I ended up still doing it.”Steve Lacy via Apple Music interview
“Sunshine,” which was released as the album’s final single, is a warm and shimmering cut perfectly catered for he and Fousheé’s outdoor jam session. Their performance is tailor-made for a grand finale, ultimately ending Gemini Rights’ rollout on a high note. Much of the album feels like “Sunshine,” intertwining somber guitar melodies with introspective quips about love and self-betterment. Yet, Lacy is truly one-of-one in curating total experiences in his music — feeling as though you’re lifting off into outer space without a “Helmet,” unafraid of what lies ahead.
“Bad Habit” — a funky synth ballad that sees him channel the great Andre 3000 — is another instant highlight on the record. With glistening falsetto and potent rhyme schemes, he pens his regret over a relationship that never took off. “I bite my tongue, it’s a bad habit / Kinda mad that I didn’t take a stab at it / Thought you were too good for me, my dear,” Lacy croons, lamenting that his inability to pursue this love interest stems from internal feelings of mediocrity.
Lacy’s “Mercury” is a whimsical and forward-thinking effort — making the track’s atmospheric, disorientating aura its focal point. His performance is ghostly and feels like a fever dream, as the near 5-minute long cut is a confessional of his innermost thoughts, with Lacy crooning over jazzy, flamenco-influenced guitars and haunting background vocals. The depth in lines like “I know myself, my sins,” gives “Mercury” an off-kilter flair only Lacy can supply — mirroring Gemini Rights energy as each track weaves into the next.
“I’m a myth and a legend
Who never wins
And might not ever play again
Keep falling in
Oh I know myself, my sins
Dug my pit, then I fell in
Pulled the trigger, killed us both
Lesson learned but truth gets old.”Steve Lacy — “Mercury”
This is Lacy’s first full-length project in over three years, previously teaming up with Thundercat and Childish Gambino for “Black Qualls” off It Is What It Is. Gemini Rights also follows his contribution to Brent Faiyaz’s enigmatic Wasteland — which earned a No. 2 debut on the Billboard 200.
Geminis are known to be wordsmiths, magicians, and a communicator above all — knowing that the mind holds god-like mysteries and harsh truths alike. Lacy seemingly conjured up some Billboard magic of his own, as Gemini Rights’ groovy, meditative experience has lifted him atop the charts.
Listen to Steve Lacy’s ‘Gemini Rights’ below!