Favorite Track: Black Qualls Least Favorite Track: Funny Thing
The latest album from one of the most promising figures in modern Funk, Hip-Hop, and everything in between, Thundercat, is a very good example of everything he has solidified his sound to be. The thick, funky basslines, topped with plenty of guest musicians, rappers, and backed with some fantastic producing work from the head of his label, Flying Lotus, “It Is What It Is” boasts the same old Thundercat sound with some more spacey production and jazz-rap influences. The biggest thing this album shows is that Thundercat knows exactly how to put together a good funk song that appeals to everyone. He has the formula of concocting a song filled with interesting new ideas to keep the musicians happy, some funky bass licks to keep people who are fans of older funk and soul satisfied, and most of all, he knows how to put together a record filled with recognizable names from all industries to link up plenty of different music listeners. This is very well displayed on the track “Black Qualls” where Thundercat pulls together Steve Lacy, of The Internet fame, laying down some fun little guitar licks, over a bumping drum beat, played by Steve Arrington, known for his drumwork for Slaves and Young Mystics. The song then goes through some super funky and groovy passages, before bringing none other than Childish Gambino in at the end of the song, laying down a relentlessly infectious verse, before bringing the song to a close. A few other highlights from the album include Dragonball Durag, a slow jam about appreciating things in your significant other, and the absolutely fantastic song Fair Chance, sporting guest features from Ty Dolla $ign and Lil B. This album showcases a lot of strengths for Thundercat, but it also clearly highlights what could be improved upon in his music. A couple of the songs on this album feel like they were left half-finished, while some of the shorter songs and interludes feel more finished than full-fledged songs on the album. Even through that, Thundercat manages to put together a relatively short and very sweet album that showcases his strengths and pulls together a lot of different influences for a very fun listen.