Thundercat has earned a reverence among music lovers and makers alike. The artist né Stephen Bruner released It Is What It Is, his fourth studio album, on April 3; it is the follow-up to his critically acclaimed LP Drunk, which was as adventurous as it was plain goofy. While not completely serious—see: “Dragonball Durag” and “Overseas” featuring Zack Fox—his latest record is only ever a few moments away from affectionate vulnerability.
“This album is about love, loss, life and the ups and downs that come with that. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at different points in life you come across places that you don’t necessarily understand… some things just aren’t meant to be understood.” – Thundercat
Labelmate (and label founder) Flying Lotus co-produced It Is What It Is, and the album contains features from Childish Gambino, Kamasi Washington, Louis Cole, Steve Lacy, among others. Notable about the guest contributions is how each molds their own distinctive style into rhythms that they may not have much experience with. Take “Fair Chance”: the song is intentionally slow, led by ‘Cat’s gentle, mourning falsetto. Sobering verses from Ty Dolla $ign and Lil B only lead us back to where we began, in the glow of guitar arpeggios, as Thundercat’s voice begins to slowly fade out.