Steve Lacy is a lot more than a social media music sensation

By Cameron Lee

October 23, 2022

The line for Thursday night’s Steve Lacy show wrapped around Hamilton St. down North Carolina Music Factory Blvd. for the return of the Compton, California musician and singer-songwriter. Lacy’s last performance in Charlotte was with The Internet in 2018, the Odd Future-rooted alternative R&B band he plays guitar for alongside Syd and Matt Martians. While The Internet played to a packed house four years ago, Lacy’s solo tour felt far more frenetic. Already an accomplished, Grammy-nominated artist at just 24 years old– having collaborated and written songs for Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator, Solange, and Vampire Weekend– Lacy’s newfound TikTok fame has propelled him to a different musical stratosphere. His song, “Bad Habit,” from his latest album, Gemini Rights, currently sits at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, receiving a tidal wave of support from a crazed fan base on social media. 

Steve Lacy performs in Charlotte to a sold-out crowd at The Fillmore. Photo: Surf Mitchell

Lacy, who started his career producing beats primarily through his iPhone, released his debut studio album in 2019, Apollo XXI, to critical acclaim with his signature style of playful funk-tinged R&B songs. On Thursday night, his artistry was in full effect. The stage setup mimicked the Gemini Rights album cover, and he sported the same garb from his tour promo photos. To uproarious applause, Lacy walked on stage to an instrumental warm-up before getting into the whimsical track, “Buttons.” With the youthful crowd in full sing-a-long mode for songs like “Only If,” “Playground,” and “N Side,” Lacy at times had to settle down the fervent crowd, stopping the show to create more space for the devoted fans in the front.

@clture #SteveLacy #Charlotte #NSide #ApolloXXI ♬ original sound – CLTure

With a near 20-song set, swapping back-and-forth from his latest albums, Gemini Rights and Apollo XXI, he brought out R&B singer Foushee (his partner and opening act for the tour), for the song “Sunshine.” Finishing his over two-hour-long set with the viral sensation, “Bad Habit,” he followed up with “C U Girl” and “Dark Red” for the encore. 

Photo: Surf Mitchell

It’s evident with his early success, revered musicality, and rabid fan base, Lacy is not just a social media music sensation, but a multi-faceted artist with a keen sense for uniquely charming instrumentals, fetching lyrics, and chic stage presence. 

Photo: Surf Mitchell


“Only If”
“N Side”
“Lay Me Down”
“Cody Freestyle”
“Give You the World”
“Bad Habit”


“C U Girl”
“Dark Red”


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Photo: Surf Mitchell
Photo: Surf Mitchell
Photo: Surf Mitchell
Singer-songwriter Fousheé opening for Steve Lacy in Charlotte. Photo: Surf Mitchell

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