Action Bronson’s demeanour and comedic yet intelligent lyrics have been propelling him to greater and greater heights since 2011, and the same values can be heard in his latest effort, Mr. Wonderful, the New York rapper’s major label debut with Atlantic Records and Vice Records. Solid to good mixtapes served in building his base, and a slew of singles from the album made this record one of the most anticipated of the genre this year.
“My mother said I better win or else she’ll fuck me up. Ma we did it, I love you, you lucky slut” (‘The Rising’)
That might have played a part in why it was so disappointing – it’s not even his fault most of time. The piano-based instrumentals that appear throughout the album are a good listen to begin with, especially in the first 10 or 15 minutes, but towards the end the value gets eroded, especially with ‘A Light in the Addict’ and its fairly long outro, which although is a smooth listen, gets repetitive. These Action Bronson-less moments are far too frequent, and it feels as if he doesn’t rap for half the album – ‘Thug Love Story 2017 A Musical (Interlude)’ is a prime example of when an artist tries to pad out an album with filler, just a pointless reference to his Blue Chips track ‘Thug Love Story 2012’. Although he succeeds in getting the city street atmosphere pretty realistic in this 2 minute interlude, the ‘song’ itself is pretty forgettable.
Bronson succeeds on 4 or 5 of the tracks – ‘Baby Blue’ begins with Bronson warbling away, one of only times it actually works, and spins his bullshit bravado verses with a side of emotion and love to perfection, just a simple piano loop to cover him. His likening of oral sex to “eating pudding”, the food references continuing likening sex with “a speciality with white snake and underwear sauce”. Unfortunately, this sentiment is overshadowed by a Chance the Rapper appearance, who achieves the same thing but in a slightly smarter and funnier manner.
‘Easy Rider’ is also a good listen, a move away from the Billy Joel vibe that is strewn across the rest of the album. Produced by recurring collaborator Party Supplies, the real standout here is the simple yet effective guitar solo, which is out of place when compared to the rest of the album, but is great nonetheless.
‘Brand New Car’ and ‘Easy Rider’ provide a great start and finish to Mr. Wonderful respectively, but in between them there’s not much else to rave about. Luckily for Mr. Bronson we’ll remember the highs from this record (à la “Terry”) and forget the lows (“City Boy Blues”), and so he won’t be out of the spotlight for too long after this.
This article was written by Mo Hafeez