[REVIEW] Action Bronson - Mr Wonderful

April 2, 2015
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

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By: Chris Chiu

It’s hard to believe Action Bronson has become one of the definitive faces in rap in just a few years. Don’t let appearances fool you. Often referred to as a “White Rick Ross” because of his stature, the husky Albanian and former chef has become an unlikely hero for the genre, with his larger than life personality and his crisp, culinary-infused lyrics.

While fans of his mixtapes might already be familiar with the vibrancy that Bronson brings to the booth, his major-label debut album, Mr. Wonderful, adds a new flavour to the rapper’s canon with its surprising reflectiveness and honesty.

Similar to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Mr. Wonderful hits us with a sound that really has never been heard before in rap. With samples from Billy Joel, tracks that evoke evenings in a shady underground jazz lounge, and 80’s rock-ballad influences on others, the album accentuates Bronson’s uniqueness and versatility in a scene that is now so frequently dominated by trap beats.

The album features multiple producers including Party Supplies, Mr. Alchemist and Mark Ronson, which contributes to the diversity of Bronson’s work. Every track on this album is a home run both lyrically and production-wise, but there are definitely some grand slams here. “A Light in the Addict,” one of the more introspective numbers, brings our lovable hero back down to earth as he reveals his insecurities about life. With lyrics like “Starin’ out the window with a mind of a schizo/Thinkin’ if I jump, will I feel it when I hit the ground?” this is definitely a different dimension than the cavalier I’m-going-to-backflip-out-of-a-Lamborghini-naked-while-eating-a-rack-of-ribs attitude that made him so popular in the first place. “Baby Blue” features Chance the Rapper, and is a palate-cleanser that washes out all the negativity and doubt with blaring trumpets at the end.

To use another food metaphor, the album is a 13-course meal that delves into the life and mind of Bronson, and one that I wouldn’t mind savouring over and over again. This is one of the strongest rap albums I have heard in a long time, and I highly recommend that you give this a listen. Just make sure you’re not hungry when you do; Bronson raps about mango lassi and seasonal vegetables with absolutely no regard for your appetite.

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