Author: Gaby Keane
If you’re a loyal reader of the Music Review, you may have noticed a pattern of hip-hop music coverage: funkier beats and unique lyrics more likely to make an existential jab at society rather than references to luxury car brands or hoes in the club. Today’s featured artist, 31-year-old rapper, Action Bronson, is no different.
Bronson is unforgettable – in appearance, personality quirks, and musical talent. He’s been stylistically compared to Ghostface Killah of the legendary ‘90s rap group, Wu-Tang Clan. Though his music possesses some of that golden era, sample-heavy ‘90s feel, it’s undeniably fresh and formulated for the modern ear.
Hailing from Queens, New York, this Armenian-American beast of a man (no, really, he’s 300 pounds with a shaved head and huge red beard) is relatively new to the scene, having only started his rap career in 2011. After graduating with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, Bronson spent most of his twenties as a gourmet chef with a rapping hobby. Now, he’s a celebrated rapper with a cooking hobby.
Despite his late start, Bronson has had a busy past four years. He’s dropped four mixtapes, 19 videos, and three albums, including his latest, Mr. Wonderful, released on March 24. His work has received critical acclaim from magazines like Rolling Stone and Complex, and he’s built a strong, widely ranging fan base.
You’re guaranteed to get a couple of things out of every Action Bronson song. Considering his longtime culinary love – he even has a VICE Magazine-produced webshow called “Fuck, That’s Delicious” – his tendency to include food references in his lyrics is unsurprising. The same goes for the weed references that appear on nearly every track; Bronson’s love of the plant is well-documented, and he even has a custom line of G-Pens (a brand of portable vaporizers). Finally, Bronson’s songs are characterized by a sense of superiority in his thoughts on life, which somehow isn’t off-putting because they’re well-crafted, smart, funny, and often true. He’s a truly weird and hilarious man – for proof, check out his 2012 music video for “The Symbol,” or any of his album covers.
Mr. Wonderful, the latest Action Bronson record to drop, is a beautiful mess of an album, with songs ranging from rock-inspired to psychedelic vibes and boasting a handful of features from artists including Chance the Rapper (whattup Slope Day). The common thread running through Mr. Wonderful is the lyrical and stylistic consistency in Bronson’s delivery, never letting you forget exactly whose music you’re listening to.
Mr. Wonderful is available on iTunes and Spotify, and many of the tracks can be streamed for free on Bronson’s SoundCloud.