Thundercat has unveiled his fourth album, It Is What It Is, out on Brainfeeder in April, with the release of “Black Qualls” feat. Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington.

It Is What It Is follows Thundercat’s Drunk, released in 2017, which completed his transition from virtuoso bassist to bonafide star. Featuring on the album are Thundercat’s friends Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole, Zack Fox, and, of course, Flying Lotus, who is credited as an Executive Producer.

“Black Qualls,” described by the Los Angeles label as “classic Thundercat,” is another example of Thundercat’s desire to highlight the lineage of his music and pay his respects to the musicians who inspired him. Discovering Arrington’s output in his late teens, Thundercat says he fell in love with his music immediately: “The tone of the bass, the way his stuff feels and moves, it resonated through my whole body.”

The track emerged from writing sessions with Steve Lacy and references what it means to be a black American with a young mindset: “What it feels like to be in this position right now… the weird ins and outs, we’re talking about those feelings… Part of me knew this [track] was where Steve [Arrington] left us,” Thundercat says.

Thundercat, real name Stephen Bruner, forms a cornerstone of the Brainfeeder label, where he’s released Golden Age of Apocalypse (2011) and Apocalypse (2013), followed by EP The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam featuring the modern classic “Them Changes.” He was later “at the creative epicenter” of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, where he won a Grammy for his collaboration on the track “These Walls,” before releasing his game-changing third album, Drunk, in 2017.


01. Lost In Space / Great Scott / 22-26
02. Innerstellar Love
03. I Love Louis Cole (feat. Louis Cole)
04. Black Qualls (feat. Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, & Childish Gambino)
05. Miguel’s Happy Dance
06. How Sway
07. Funny Thing
08. Overseas (feat. Zack Fox)
09. Dragonball Durag
10. How I Feel
11. King Of The Hill
12. Unrequited Love
13. Fair Chance (feat. Ty Dolla $ign & Lil B)
14. Existential Dread
15. It Is What It Is

It Is What It Is LP is out April 3 via Brainfeeder. Meanwhile, you can stream Black Qualls feat. Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington below, and pre-order the album here.

Album artwork by Parker Day