Thundercat is in repose. He’s also in a pair of tiger print Chanel-branded cat ears. The eccentric musician lies on his bed at a sleek hotel in Lower Manhattan, in the midst of a promotional run for It Is What It Is, his fourth and most poignant solo album. Informed by major loss—especially the death of Mac Miller—and personal strife, the record sees him using his prodigious instrumental talents and crystal clear falsetto to reflect on how we move forward in a life filled as much with unjustifiable tragedy as affirming love.

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