Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Thundercat, the stage name of Stephen Bruner, has long been a fixture in the R&B world. Perhaps you remember him from his Grammy win for his work with Kendrick Lamar on To Pimp a Butterfly. Or perhaps you’ve always been a fan of this LA based bass plucker, smoothly blending jazz, soul, a taste of funk and electronic into a pure R&B sound. Either way, you should be excited that he has released a new album entitled Drunk. With a track list featuring titles such as ‘Drink Dat’, ‘3AM’, ‘Drunk’ and ‘DUI’, this album is definitely looking promising. And were that not enough, the album has some stellar features including Kenny Loggins, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and Pharell. But this isn’t some DJ Khaled masterpiece built exclusively of big name features. Rather, Drunk is a twenty-three track long studio production showing the accumulated talent of Thundercat.
With smooth and lightly edited vocals, Thundercat’s music is sure to put you into whatever zone you were hoping to get into. The throbbing, slow bass and loose drum loops combine jazzily with his voice and gentle lyrical arrangements will transport you to a nirvana like state. In many ways, as the album title declares, this music certainly won’t make you sober. Rather, the hazy music and slowly moving bass progressions certainly has the effect of a couple or several beers.
I have a few favorite tracks off this album. ‘Drink Dat’ featuring Wiz Khalifa is definitely somewhere close to the top of the list. The tone of the song, like that of the album, is smooth and light, Thundercat’s vocals slipping liquidly over simple instrumentals. He sings the melodic refrain, “I can’t open my eyes, girl, cause I’m just too wasted, you’re taking it higher, straight shots with no chaser, I’m up past the clouds, can’t come down we’re too faded.” He croons and his voice sails freely into your headphones, unencumbered by, really, anything.
Other tracks I really enjoyed were ‘Walk On By’ featuring Kendrick Lamar, ‘Friend Zone’, and ‘The Turn Down’ featuring Pharrell. This most recent album is essentially proof of his dominance in the field of R&B, an assertion that his name belongs in comparison to the greats. Thundercat’s music is both transfixing in its originality and mesmerizing in it’s familiarity. He is the master of a style he created, and lucky for us he’s made a masterpiece of it on his latest album Drunk.