Monday night, Thundercat hit the Jimmy Kimmel Live! stage with a pack of special guests to perform his song “Black Qualls” and wound up paying tribute to Mac Miller with a sweet musical change to the beat from the late rapper’s 2018 song “What’s The Use?” While Thundercat usually brings more than enough personality to his live performances, Monday night, he received big assists courtesy of Flying Lotus, who played keys, The Internet’s Steve Lacy on guitar, and 64-year-old funk “lifer” Steve Arrington on vocals.
The song was a tender and smart way to pay homage to Miller, who worked with and around the LA funk/jazz community on many of his latter albums, including The Divine Feminine, Swimming, and the posthumously released Circles. Thundercat played bass on “What’s The Use?” while Arrington often plays with DâM-FunK, who also played on Mac’s song. Lacy also had a strong connection to the song; his bandmate Syd sang backup for Mac on “What’s The Use?” making the track one with an emotional connection for each of Thundercat’s bandmates on the Kimmel stage.
Watch Thundercat perform “Black Qualls” in the video above.