Everyone’s favourite person to rap about food and sex frequently has finally released a debut album. Action Bronson since day one has drawn comparisons to Ghostface Killah due to the fact that Action Bronson wears that influence very clearly on his sleeve. Gradually over time with the mixtapes that he released, he proved himself to be a lot more than a Ghostface impersonator. His flow has gradually become stranger and stranger and the way he deals with his topics have gradually become more focused.
It’s ironic that the Ghostface Killah comparison fits very well when explaining the sonic direction this album has gone in. On Ghostface’s recent output, he’s gone for a lot more of a classy sound teaming up with jazz bands including BADBADNOTGOOD. On Action Bronson’s latest album the instrumentation for the large part is very similar. On tracks like ‘Terry’ he uses classy piano snippets and guitars that aren’t as live as something from Ghostface but feel just as classy if not more-so because of the way there’s more focus on the way they’re actually produced. There are tracks on here that sound a lot more orientated around standard Hip-Hop beats like the beat on ‘Actin Crazy’ which orients around a break beat drum and some brilliant synths.
Action Bronson is a rapper that is still filled with charisma despite the obvious influences he wears on his sleeves. His bars for the most part are still extremely witty with his delivery sounding dead serious while he actually spits about cereal and how many kids he has that he doesn’t know about. He’s even good when dealing with subjects of being hurt by a specific woman on the tracks ‘Baby Blue’ (with a brilliant Chance The Rapper feature) and ‘Terry’. Bronson is self-aware as he has been throughout all of his mixtapes, knowing full well that he works best when he embraces his humour and wittiness. The problem is that he’s not quite as good in execution as he was before on a lot of the spots on here.
On tracks like ‘City Boy Blues’ we have Bronson relying far more on the instrumental to bring forward the thrills as he sings all over it with a less than impressive voice. It’s made worse by the fact that it’s one of the weaker instrumentals on the album with it being drenched in reverb to the point where it’s smothered. The track that comes before it is also a track in which there’s some acapella singing which basically acts as a prelude to the song ‘City Boy Blues’. It’s way too long for what’s basically an unentertaining interlude. The track ‘The Passage’ has him singing live with his voice sounding even more muffled over instrumentation that doesn’t add up to much at all. Truthfully no one is going to be coming back to listen to any of Bronson’s tracks that he sings on.
‘Mr Wonderful’ is wonderful and feels like it could have been so much more. Bronson has talent that he has proved time and time again throughout his mixtapes showing the doubters that he is more than an Ghostface impersonator. But this feels like a slight misstep in his career that unfortunately comes in the shape of a debut album that sounds more like the difficult second stage after his mixtapes. It’s shown his willingness to experiment, he’s just not pulled it off yet.
Best Tracks: Terry, Baby Blue, Actin Crazy, Falconry