Listen to Thundercat's New Album 'It Is What It Is'
It’s been three years since the release of Thundercat’s third album, “Drunk.” A collection of alcohol-fueled anecdotes ranging from hilarious to heartbreaking. Thundercat is many things, he’s a sharp bassist who sings with a bright falsetto. He musters so much care-free energy, it’s hard not to feel good listening to his music. His offbeat quip-style songwriting is goofy and childlike. Together, Thundercat creates the perfect recipe for “It Is What It Is.”
Thundercat seamlessly fuses jazz and 70’s funk influences with modern R&B pop trends, he is both comedic and a gifted musician. Through his clever choices, he knows how to make his listeners smile. Featuring friends Kamasi Washington and Flying Lotus, the album’s production gleams with beautiful chord choices that echo throughout the project’s length. Two years after the passing of his dear friend Mac Miller, Thundercat chooses to create something that’s both sentimental and healing. On the closing, titular track, Miller’s vocals can be heard sprinkled into the mix. The last words sung by Thundercat are, “Hey Mac.” In the context of the project, this small touch resonates deeply in honoring the memory of the late artist.
Black Qualls ft. Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington and Childish Gambino
“Black Qualls” first graced the world as a single featuring Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington earlier this year. “Black Qualls” is funky at its core, featuring production from Flying Lotus and Thundercat. Steve Arrington and Steve Lacy add a trance-inducing feeling to the record with their sultry vocals. The album version contains a Childish Gambino addition towards the end of the track. Although his verse is brief, Gambino closes out the track on a high note, singing about society’s growing obsession with technology. Followed by a mesmerizing “don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop” — “Black Qualls” has a danceable feeling that makes you want to two-step in the living room while your food might be burning.
Miguel’s Happy Dance
Thundercat encourages listeners to believe in themselves and dance all the pain away in “Miguel’s Happy Dance.” Although the instructional track tells listeners to feel good again, it sounds as though Thundercat is singing this for himself more than others. To say the least, “Miguel’s Happy Dance” is a reminder that you shouldn’t let life get you down and if you need a pick-me-up this is sure to help.
Overseas ft. Zack Fox
“Overseas” is short and sweet, coming in at a just 1:28 in length. The song is elementary at best, Thundercat professes his love for a girl that always crosses his mind and asks her to join him in different countries around the world. The outro also features a comedic bit from Zack Fox posing as a pilot.
Originally debuted on the anime, “Carole & Tuesday,” “Unrequited Love” is an affectionate slow jam. Produced by Flying Lotus, the beautifully dark chords are eerie and alien. The simple drum break and heavy-hitting kick seamlessly merge with the bass and slick violin. The slow tempo is a change for Thundercat but on “Unrequited Love” is spacious and gorgeous. The delay on Thundercat’s vocals is dizzying and hypnotic, making you feel like you are floating throughout the galaxy of his mind. As he pours his heart out, he longs for someone he once leaned on. The sliding, simple groove that shimmers throughout “Unrequited Love” is infectious and irresistible.
Fair Chance (feat. Ty Dolla $ign & Lil B)
“Fair Chance” is a eulogy for Thundercat’s close friend, Mac Miller who passed away in 2018. Produced by Sounwave, Flying Lotus and Thundercat, the track opens up by interpolating Miller’s 2018 track, “Hurt Feelings.” Thundercat laments, “I’ll keep holding you down/even though you’re not around.” LA singer Ty Dolla $ign also harmonizes with Thundercat, creating a gorgeous blend of lush vocals. The two singers carry Mac’s memory on their shoulders and try to maintain hope that things are looking up singing, “Things will never be the same again/everything’s so strange…Keep my head above water.” “Fair Chance” is an elegant ode to a fallen friend.