Over the past few years, one man has managed to captivate fans outside of his chosen genre. He’s a world-class chef but gave up that career to give rapping a try – that man is Action Bronson.
2015 is a landmark year for Bronson, it’s his first album release backed by a major label. The LP titled Mr Wonderful, dropped last week through Atlantic and Vice records. The LP’s name is explained simply by Action: “THATS BEEN ME SINCE I STEPPED IN THIS BULLSHIT!”
Hailing from Flushing, Queens, New York, Bronson is the latest in a long list of portly rappers to dominate the hip-hop scene, following in the footsteps of Notorious BIG, Big Pun and Killer Mike. He makes reference to his ample size on track 4 ‘Actin Crazy’: “Now these motherfuckers all wanna be chubby.”
Influenced heavily by New York’s nineties hip-hop scene, he cites the likes of Nas, Kool G Rap and Wu Tang as artists that help shape his sound.
Bronsolini’s major breakthrough came in 2012, with the release of two outstanding mixtapes (free to download), Blue Chips and Rare Chandeliers. They managed to capture his larger than life persona, his unique style, his willingness to rap over non-traditional beats, and most of all his sense of humour.
Action’s always been a tongue and cheek artist, going against the grain of traditional rap stereotypes. In the music video for ‘Strictly For My Jeeps‘, he forsakes the usual hip-hop hunnies and opts for a 20-stone lady to bump and grind with.
Our first sampling of the record came in August 2014, when BAM BAM put out the album’s first single ‘Easy Rider’. It’s an amazing mishmash of psychedelic rock spliced with hip-hop, entertaining lyrics and accompanied by a music video – arguably one of the best videos this decade.
It’s hard to find rap that sounds better, and Bonsolini agrees. He told Complex: “‘Easy Rider’ is one of the best things I’ve ever created in my life. It’s a beautiful song. We end on a fucking crack of the lightning and then thunder into a Curt Chambers guitar solo and we just ride the fucking Harley into the sunset.”
‘Easy Rider’ is easily the highlight of his major label debut, unfortunately it’s also the last tune on the record.
Mr Wonderful takes a long time to get going, not until track 8 ‘A Light In The Addict’, does the rapper start to raise the bar from mediocrity. The ninth tune ‘Baby Blue’, his latest single featuring Chance the Rapper, finally achieves the excellence that he’s demonstrated on other projects. His trademark wit is evident, with lines such as: “I’m not exactly flawless, but I’m gorgeous… just like a horse is.”
By the time the last tune comes along, it’s too little, too late. I wanted to love Mr Wonderful, however in the end, i just felt like a parent telling a child, “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.”
Watch Action Bronson’s reenactment of Slash in his ‘Easy Rider’ video below.