One song, one take, one cab.
That is the motto of the Black Cab Sessions, a fantastic performance series from across the pond, which features high-profile artists providing low-profile and spontaneous concerts while squeezed in the cozy confines of an agreeable taxi cab. Produced by the UK’s Hidden Fruit and Just So Films, the project has ranked up over 200 performances (with the likes of Brian Wilson, Mumford & Sons, and Hot Chip) and over 40 million views in its eight year run, offering a refreshingly casual alternative to the over-produced and distant glossiness we are accustomed to seeing performers exist within.
With their latest installment, Black Cab Sessions has scored Thundercat; no, not one of humanoid felines from the ’80s cartoon show, but the brilliant jazz-fusion innovator, Stephen Bruner, who has claimed their name. Having formerly served as the bassist for Erykah Badu, and achieving wide acclaimed for his experimental collaborations with Flying Lotus, Thundercat’s most recent victory comes from being the creative architect behind the sweeping, astral soundscape of Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 tour de force, To Pimp a Butterfly.
For his Black Cab Session, Thundercat subverts our expectations of complexity and chooses only a solitary, acoustic guitar to accompany him in the cramped backseat of an iconic English cabbie. He then treats us to an unhurried and stripped-down re-imagining of his funk-infused party track, “Oh Sheit, It’s X!” (from his 2013 album, Apocalypse, and also featured on Grand Theft Auto V’s Flylo FM). Here, the track is so soulful and sultry, it’s hardly recognizable from the original version (watch it below to see what we mean). Broken up by the occasional laugh and commentary, the performance is a pleasure to watch: