Steve Lacy Apollo XXI Release Party | Compton Epitomized

by Jake Carver

Steve Lacy celebrated the release of his debut solo album, Apollo XXI, with an open to the public release party at the Compton/Woodley Airport. When I looked at the invite, I was confused. An airport? Yes, there’s an obvious connection between flight and the name of his album, but an airport didn’t seem like the most practical choice of a venue.

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It’s a unique choice from a unique artist. Unlike his Compton contemporaries, artists known hard hitting, political rap, Lacy is a neo-soul singer and guitarist. He went to private school, and he describes his upbringing as sheltered. Unlike most other Grammy nominated producers, he mixes tracks on his iPhone’s GarageBand. He was nominated for said Grammy for his work with his band, The Internet, at the age of seventeen.

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Lacy’s virtuoso is bringing Neo-soul and R&B back into the limelight. Apollo XXI’s release party wasn’t so much a party as it was a line—a huge line of young people, stretching farther than the decorative lineup of light aircraft and helicopters, all waiting to buy Steve Lacy merchandise and get an autograph from the man himself. I’m usually not a fan of waiting in lines, but Lacy put in the effort to make the experience personable and (for the lack of a better term) Comptonesque. Lacy invited DJs, put a lowrider Chevy Impala on display, and hired Compton Vegan to cater soul food. I also realized that the venue doubled as a aeronautics museum; many attendees, in their tight fitted beanies and rolled up jeans, took their time to view the displays. If Lacy’s goal was to show his fans the old and new of Compton, he succeeded.