Skip to main content
A Magazine for

Thundercat: It Is What It Is

by Now Then Sheffield
958 1584964816

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

by Now Then Sheffield

Related articles

Alois Escape mixtape

Martin Schenker, vocalist of Swiss synth-pop mavericks Alois, has created an exclusive mix for Now Then, with experimental electronics flowing into avant-garde ambient.

Jackie Moonbather Creativity in lockdown

Created in a single day this summer, it's no surprise that Jackie Moonbather's new track is imbued with an intimate, cocoon-like atmosphere. We asked Jackie, who moonlights as one of Katie Pham's Moonbathers, how 'Jones On The Phone' came into being.

HYPERSTITION DUO Anti-capitalist sound scramblers share new music

HYPERSTITION DUO is the new project from Alex and Flora of much-missed Sheffield band Blood Sport. Their second EP, METABOLIC RIFT, is now available to preorder on their own POLYPHONIC ASSEMBLAGE label - and they've shared a teaser of mind-melting new track 'AUGURY' with us.