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Thundercat: It Is What It Is

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With It Is What It Is, Thundercat progresses with the electronic take on funk which first gave him recognition back in 2002, and the high points of the album are clearly the work of an experienced multi-instrumentalist. 'Black Qualls', featuring Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington and Childish Gambino, combines the sound of the four musicians, drawing the most influence from Gambino's 2016 record "Awaken, My Love!". The influence is undeniable, yet the track still sounds fresh with Lacy's instrumental contribution giving it depth.

The best track, 'Fair Chance', featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Lil B, also draws influence from its guests. $ign's vocals give it a mainstream rap appeal which would usually be a bad thing for Thundercat, a musician renowned for originality. However, the vocals make the track, and the record, more accessible to an audience unfamiliar with Thundercat's talent, while not diminishing his individuality.

'It Is What It Is' achieves what it set out to do

The record does grow repetitive in its shorter tracks. 'Funny Thing' follows 'How Sway', and the electronic instrumental of each track is so similar that they blur into one. But this is far outweighed by the album's triumphs, particularly most recent single 'Dragonball Durag', which is reminiscent of the bass guitar on 'Them Changes' from Drunk.

It Is What It Is achieves what it set out to do. It's progressive, whilst also being accessible to an audience who may have felt differently about the musician's earlier work. But the more mainstream approach taken here doesn't detract from Thundercat's individuality - it compliments it.

Sarah Bennett

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