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After a two year drought of music, Steve Lacy finally released his highly anticipated album Gemini Rights on July 15. Produced primarily by Lacy, the ten song album has features from the likes of Matt Martians and Fousheé, who also contributed to writing and producing half of the songs on the project. The album is inspired by a recent breakup that Lacy endured: he uses each song to emulate his mixed feelings of regret, sadness, confusion, and relief all while going through the split. Every song illustrates his conflicting feelings and the lessons he has learned from being in a relationship, but Lacy ultimately feels that he is going in the right direction with his life despite these issues. 

I’ve liked alternative R&B ever since I first heard Blonde by Frank Ocean, but I never truly explored the genre besides Ocean’s discography. My first encounter with Lacy was his single “Dark Red” that blew up on TikTok years after its release. I never bothered to dive deeper into his collection, and despite being a fan of his first hit single, I continued to listen to the same generic rap that I was used to. After getting sick of music that steals flows and repeats basic trends, I began to explore music outside the realm of rap. After truly exploring Lacys music, I started to realize his eccentric talents and instantly became attached to his new album. 

Unlike modern-day mainstream music, Gemini Rights has a unique and invigorating sound. Every time the next song plays, it’s like a breath of fresh air; Lacy’s groovy production and distinctive vocals makes it hard to not repeat the tracks continuously. I specifically like how Lacy spaces out his sound and allows the production to play out for certain tracks, as each beat is truly a work of art that should be acknowledged. There is also an equal ratio between the upbeat and slower, more melodic songs primarily to convey the discordant emotions that he is going through. Albums that use the instrumentals to illustrate a general tone or feeling are my favorite because it allows the listener to understand the reality of the artist. 

The project is extremely consistent with its production and song concepts, but I heavily dislike the enterlude that is midway through the tracks. I find it to be very unnecessary, and hearing Lacy say “together forever” for an entire minute instantly made it my least favorite of the album. I’ll never understand why artists put interludes in the middle of the album, as they usually produce minimal streams and get skipped over by the majority of listeners. Luckily, he recovers this tedious track with “Cody Freestyle,” a synth heavy song with a dreamy essence and build up. It appears that Lacy is utilizing the song to expound on his desire to distance himself from his past relationship and move on with life. Lacy’s constant change in flow serves to emphasize his conflicted emotions and essentially the uncertainty of heartbreak. 

While I am a fan of each song (except Bad Habit, a song ruined by TikTok) my favorite is definitely “Give You the World.” The instrumental makes you feel like you are ascending into space and it fits the ending of the album perfectly. It’s a slow song that expresses Lacy’s desire for forgiveness after his breakup, even though the song before details his revived feelings from his past relationship. It’s obvious that Lacy doesn’t know how to express his feelings after losing his love.

Ever since discovering this album, I have become a huge fan of Lacy’s work. Its distinction is much needed in the music industry, especially with the current tendencies of artists to rip off other sounds and ride trendy waves. Recognition from Kanye West on Instagram should be enough for anyone to know that this album was a certified masterpiece, one that will live on for years to come. I look forward to the future of Lacy’s music and hope that he continues to drop works of art just like Gemini Rights.