Thundercat’s Walk on By is a soft and psychedelic song from his new album, Drunk. Thundercat’s vocals are very soothing as he sings about wanting to get drunk in company as opposed to being alone and combing through his personal cul-de-sacs. The dissonance of the guitar compliments the mood of the lyrics. He is singing from desperation in a world without resolve until he finally realizes that he’s putting his baby on quicksand, and she don’t want to be a part of it. Rotating his eye inwards to catch a glimpse of how he really feels; he’s drunk away half his brain so he relies mostly on his female company to do the thinking for him; and it’s bringing him down, and it’s bringing her down to him because she’s now figured out the truth.
Kendrick’s rhyme is like a lever to turn the personal details into a broader problem that goes around the world and lands back in everyone’s lap. It sounds fragmented and not in line with most of Kendrick’s other flows that have a very clear consistency. One line that evades me is “When the line becomes thin: be a killer or fireman”; There is a lot of angst in this rhyme; I don’t say that to allude to some meta gangster post angst stuff, but to identify a new kind of angst: the angst of a successful rapper who has grown bored of imagery and “hook material” to bend their bones in favor of choppy syntax and non-sequiturs. It’s new, poignant, and certainly catchy and I can’t help but blush severely at the abruptness of the final line !