by / April 7th, 2015 /

Action Bronson — Mr. Wonderful

 1/5 Rating

(Vice Records (Warner/Atlantic))

For a rapper from Queens, Action Bronson is an incredibly unique artist. His descriptive and wacky lyrics can often feature him doing gymnastics in and out of different vehicles or “getting topped off in the front row of the opera.” In a few short years, Bronson has made the transition from a chef to a world conquering rapper and all-round character. On this album he verges on becoming comparable to a hip hop equivalent of Tenacious D; they may have primarily been a parody act but it is important to remember that they are also both great musicians and the same goes for Bronson. He may not be a parody act but that doesn’t stop him from injecting his own brand of humour throughout Mr. Wonderful.

Some may argue, though, that a Tenacious D comparison could be a step too far, but he does open Mr. Wonderful with his best Billy Joel rendition, “I got a brand new car, I got a jazz guitar.” Bronson then proceeds to treat the listener to the playful wordplay that he himself admits can be over the top, “at the bar looking Swedish in a trench coat, stupid.” It is all very tongue in cheek and it’s what makes Bronson one of a kind. He has made quite a name for himself solely off of his intriguingly bizarre raps and pure charisma. The latter of which translates perfectly to this album – with each track providing a different look at his tastes and talents.

His production and sample choices are second to none, The Alchemist, Mark Ronson and Party Supplies to name just a few. Each beat is vastly different but that only allows Bronson to prove his versatility. He croons over Ronson’s ‘Baby Blue’ hook along with Chance the Rapper, on what is the most accessible track he’s released. Any chances he takes with either singing or venturing into other genres (‘City Boy Blues’, ‘Coming to America’) all feel apt to the world he has created on the album. Easy Rider closes the album in stereotypical Bronson fashion. A psychedelic guitar riff along with sensory, braggadocios raps and a revving motorcycle all culminate to finalise things with his strongest track yet.

It is a very cohesive project despite the several producing contributors. Many tracks begin at the end of the previous one, also aiding in creating a full and consistent sound throughout the album. The title Mr Wonderful may have to be taken with a pinch of salt, like much of his aesthetic. However, he has truly earned himself this self appointed title with this release. The future looks a lot brighter for him after such a versatile debut showing.

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