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Stephen Bruner (born October 19, 1984), better known by his stage name Thundercat, is an American multi-genre bass guitarist, producer and singer from Los Angeles, California. He has released three solo albums and is most noted for his work with producer Flying Lotus and crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies. Thundercat appeared on Kendrick Lamar's critically acclaimed 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly. In 2016, Thundercat won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for his work on the track "These Walls" from To Pimp a Butterfly.
Thundercat performing at the Hoxton in Toronto on September 27, 2015.
|Birth name||Stephen Bruner|
October 19, 1984 |
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Born into a family of musicians, Bruner began playing the bass at an early age: by 15 he had a minor hit in Germany as a member of the boy band No Curfew. A year later he joined his brother Ronald Jr. as a member of the Los Angeles punk band Suicidal Tendencies, replacing former bass player Josh Paul.
Along with his band duties Bruner is also a session musician, acclaimed for his work on Erykah Badu's New Amerykah (2008) and Flying Lotus' Cosmogramma (2010). He released his first solo album in 2011, The Golden Age of Apocalypse, which featured production from Flying Lotus, and was influenced by 1970s fusion artists such as Stanley Clarke and George Duke. The next two years saw a return to the recording studio with fellow Brainfeeder artist Flying Lotus, with contributions to the Lotus's Until the Quiet Comes (2012) and You're Dead! (2014), and the release of Thundercat's second album Apocalypse (2013).
Along with the involvements with previous artists, Thundercat draws inspiration from jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Mary Lou Williams and Ron Carter. Through this, he is frequently able to renew elements from old soul, funk, and jazz albums. Known as "digging in the crates", this method is best used to bring the sound, feel and emotion he wants to convey in his music. An example of this can be heard on his most recent EP released in 2015 titled The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam. The most popular track on this EP titled Them Changes, also shares this creative renewal element. Them Changes contains a drum sample from the 1977 track "Footsteps in the Dark" by the Isley Brothers. This shows how Thundercat is able to bring in old records to create fresh elements that make his music smooth and hypnotic.
In 2016, Bruner revealed to XXL that he is working on a new album with Flying Lotus as a main contributor. In May of that year, Bruner appeared live with Red Hot Chili Peppers to play additional bass on their song "Go Robot" at iHeartRadio's release party for the band's 2016 album The Getaway. In August 2016, Bruner appeared live with Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald in Chicago.
In 2017, Thundercat appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" to promote his album Drunk with Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins.
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|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|The Golden Age of Apocalypse||
|"—" denotes a title that did not chart, or was not released in that territory.|
With Kendrick LamarEdit
With Kamasi WashingtonEdit
- The Epic (2015)
With Flying LotusEdit
With Kirk KnightEdit
- Late Knight Special (2015)
With Taylor McFerrinEdit
- Early Riser (2014)
With Erykah BaduEdit
- The Golden Echo (2014)
With Childish GambinoEdit
- Because the Internet (2013)
With Sa-Ra Creative PartnersEdit
With Mac MillerEdit
With Vic MensaEdit
- Innanetape (2013)
With Suicidal TendenciesEdit
With Keziah JonesEdit
- Nigerian Wood (2008)
- Airtight's Revenge (2010)
With Young Jazz GiantsEdit
- Young Jazz Giants (2004)
With Terrace MartinEdit
- Velvet Portraits (2016)
With Ty Dolla SignEdit
- Free TC (2015)
- Weiss, Jeff (April 2, 2015). "Meet Thundercat, the Jazz-Fusion Genius Behind Kendrick Lamar's 'Butterfly'". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
- "The Birth of Stephen Bruner". California Birth Index, 1905 - 1995. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- "Rising: Thundercat | Features". Pitchfork. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- Kellman, Andy. "Apocalypse - Thundercat : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- Weiss, Jeff. "Meet Thundercat, the Jazz-Fusion Genius Behind Kendrick Lamar's 'Butterfly'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2017-06-06), Thundercat ft. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins: Show You the Way, retrieved 2017-06-06
- "Thundercat - Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
- "Thundercat - Top Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
- "Thundercat - Heatseeker Albums". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
- "Thundercat - R&B Albums". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
- Mertens, Max (January 25, 2017). "Thundercat Announces Third Album 'Drunk' Featuring Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Flying Lotus, and More". Vice. Retrieved February 22, 2017.