Thundercat Pays Tribute to Mac Miller on "Fair Chance"

Mahlik Campbell

music /
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Thundercat performs onstage during day 2 of FYF Fest 2017 at Exposition Park on July 22, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for FYF)

Thundercat premiered a new song yesterday, "Fair Chance," that pays homage to the late Mac Miller. Produced by Sounwave and featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Lil B, it's the latest single off Cat's upcoming album, It Is What It Is.

In a press statement, the 35-year-old musician shared some thoughts about the inspiration behind the touching track and how it came together. “This song is about Mac… when he passed it shook the ground for the artist community," he said. "Ty’s a strong dude and when he heard the song he knew exactly what it should be. I was there when he recorded it. We talked about what it was, and he did what he felt was right to it, and I love what he did.”

Over a sunny synth that sounds like it could've been heard on Macadelic, Thundercat sings lightly about his struggles to cope with Mac's death: "I keep holdin' you down / Even though, you’re not around / So hard to get over it / I’ve tried to get under it / Stuck in between, it is what it is."

Before Mac tragically passed from a drug overdose in Sept. 2018, Thundercat had become one of his closest friends and collaborators. One time he even flew in from Europe just to perform for Mac’s special NPR Tiny Desk Concert, one of his last shows ever.

At the beginning of 2020, Thundercat did an interview on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show and opened up about his relationship with Mac. “The moments that me and that man shared when it came to the creative energy and stuff like that, I’m happy that I got a chance to experience somebody encompassing like that,” he said.

He also shared how Mac's death affected his psyche and influenced his approach to It Is What It Is. "From that moment, I was changed forever," he admitted. "That's just one example of it is what it is."

Thundercat previously paid tribute to his friend by blending the funky bass line from Mac's 2018 track, “What’s the Use,” into his performance of the single "Black Qualls" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Both Ty Dolla $ign and Lil B also knew Mac pretty well, so it's cool that Thundercat tapped them for "Fair Chance."

In 2016, Ty poured his heart out on the powerful "Cinderella" for Mac's critically-acclaimed album, The Divine Feminine. He later dedicated a rendition of the song to Mac during his own NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Lil B dropped philosophical insight on "Time Flies," which appeared on Mac's third studio album, GO:OD AM.

Though his upcoming tour was recently postponed due to the coronavirus, fans of Thundercat (including myself) are really looking forward to this new project. 🐯