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Stephen Bruner, a native of Los Angeles who is best known by his stage name Thundercat, is an award-winning musician who is best known both for his singing and his unique way of playing the bass guitar. Though working with Suicidal Tendencies and Flying Lotus in the beginning stages of his career, Thundercat is now a solo artist.
Thundercat Noteworthy Awards
As such a storied instrumentalist, Thundercat has won a wide variety of awards. His 2011 album, The Golden Age of Apocalypse, reached No. 11 on the US Dance Charts. In 2016, he won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for his work on the track "These Walls" from To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. But he got his first award at the age of 15 when he joined the boy band No Curfew and had a minor hit that went to No. 1 in Germany.
Thundercat Personal Life
Thundercat was born into a family of musicians; in fact, he played with his brother Ronald in the band No Curfew. But he also has a wide variety of musician friends whom he plays with on a regular basis -- most notably, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In 2016, they invited him to play additional bass on the song "Go Robot" at iHeartRadio's release party for the band's 2016 album, The Getaway. But he has also worked with Erykah Badu, Vic Mensa and Childish Gambino (the alter ego of actor Donald Glover, who will forever be immortalized as the young Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo standalone Star Wars film).
Thundercat Career Milestones
Thundercat really came into prominence when he joined Suicidal Tendencies in 2000, replacing original bass player Josh Paul. From there, he worked on Erykah Badu's New Amerykah (2008) and Flying Lotus' Cosmogramma (2010). He released his first solo album in 2011.
He then started working with Flying Lotus again on Until the Quiet Comes (2012) and You're Dead! (2014). In between these releases, he dropped his second solo album, Apocalypse, in 2013.
In addition to working with Kendrick Lamar on To Pimp A Butterfly in 2015, where he was dubbed "the creative epicenter" of the album and was responsible for the vast majority of its creative achievement. He also worked with the Compton rapper on Untitled Unmastered, which was released in 2016.
Thundercat calls himself the Billy Preston of the modern era and said as much to Rolling Stone: "I was like Billy Preston in the Rolling Stones. 'Who's that black guy with the Afro?'" Thundercat says, laughing. "I was like a little mouse in the house. My bass set up somewhere, curled in the corner playing Xbox or PlayStation."
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