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Action Bronson



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Benefiting from mixtapes like rock bands used to benefit from pre-debut tours, chef turned rapper Action Bronson is wonderfully loose and comfortable on his first full-length, the audaciously and aptly titled Mr. Wonderful. Album opener "Brand New Car" forgoes the usual bombastic intro for a cheeky, goofy track, one that stops and starts at will while offering "That girl on top of me: pornography/She only want me for my guapery" in a voice that's gruff and powerful, like Ghostface meets Chris Farley. Billy Joel is skillfully sampled by producer Mark Ronson on the cut, while highlight "Terry" later uses the Piano Man's name as a sign of success (from then's "First time whacked off, was a Penthouse" to now's "Billy Joel at the Garden/Should I get a skybox?"), but all the insider chef talk, all the cutting-edge alt-hip-hop references, and all the left-field production ideas from the underground days remain, as Mr. Wonderful is a subtle way to join the major leagues/major labels. Hooks and radio-worthy moments are supplied by the edgy likes of Chance the Rapper as "Baby Blue" bubbles with soul and venomously breaks up with an ex, sounding as if De La Soul could show a pimp hand. Closer "Easy Rider" clues into the freedom-driven spirit of its movie namesake and offers an elaborate, ambitious journey that proves both Action and co-conspirator/frequent producer Party Supplies make things sound "effortless," which could easily be misconstrued as "slacker." Other, less accessible examples include the exotic "The Passage" and "A Light in the Addict," a compelling six minutes' worth of sound art and rap-jazz. Through it all, Bronson balances brutish punch lines with a stunning wit, and tempers his lust for world travel and opulence with self-deprecating jokes, and yet, Mr. Wonderful is still just a tad too big and busy for the newcomer, as EP-sized intros always seemed more right-sized with Bronson. The merely curious can try one of those taster platters before gorging themselves on this rich, delicious meal. ~ David Jeffries

  • Genre: Pop
  • Format: Vinyl
  • RSD Release Date: n/a
  • Released: 07/24/2015


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