“Mr. Wonderful” is experimental, musical and unapologetically Action Bronson
Action Bronson is the chubby, bearded Queens native, who never wears pants and puts on one of the most entertaining live shows I’ve ever seen. He might body slam you with the quickness in between mouth watering food references and humorous rhymes about how sexy your baby mama thinks he is. But he’s unapologetically Bronson and that’s why we love him.
Executing a widely successful four-year mixtape and short EP career, Bam Bam has finally dropped his studio debut, “Mr. Wonderful.” If you’re expecting a Blue Chips rehash, you’ll be sorely disappointed, as Bronsolino eloquently articulated via Twitter: “U WANT MY OLD SHIT? BUY MY OLD ALBUM.” With Mr. Wonderful, Action Bronson embraces his inner rock star and experiments with his vocal abilities and live instrumentation. However, the rhymes aren’t lacking and are still rooted in the comical and colorful content that Bam Bam has colonized.
Mr. Wonderful is theatrical and meant to be enjoyed as one cohesive body of work. Also atypically and to its benefit, the album incorporates a variety of producers including Mark Ronson, The Alchemist, Party Supplies, Noah “40” Shebib, Oh No, Statik Selektah and 88-Keys. Features are limited as Action Bronson doesn’t need big names to make his music hot, but he keeps it authentic, enlisting his childhood friend Mayhem Lauren and the young creative Chance The Rapper.
The album opens with a hilarious intro by the name of “Brand New Car.” The Mark Ronson production is lively and dramatic and Bronson has to clear his throat and check his voice more than a few times to keep up with its perpetuating bounce and groove. His apology for his artistic mishaps transitions to the next track seamlessly.
Things slow down for “Terry,” the reflective record that despite its mellow vibe has bars that jab. “I rep the eastern seaboard, jeez Lord/ Please leave the Z3 keys before you leave/ Don’t sneeze on my shit, cause for shiz Ima flip ya/ Pedicured foot slide in the slipper.” The Alchemist produced track is cited as Bronson’s favorite and ends with a psychedelic outro featuring Chauncy Sherod droning, “What are you waiting for…”
“THUG LOVE STORY 2017 THE MUSICAL (interlude)” divides the album, before going into the melodious and gloomy “City Boy Blues.” The crossover single “Baby Blue,” that could care less about actually being crossover, is directed toward the jealous women, the heartbreakers and the exes. Both Chance and Action deliver petty yet priceless verses that send messages to their women of the past, affirming that they’re moving on and better off because of it. “So many women wanna call me baby/ And you wonder why I ain’t call you lately/ Some would say that I’m the symbol for sex and uh/ Others would hate, but I don’t give ‘em no breath.” Chance showcases his artistry by stringing together a series of mild and annoying insults: “I hope there’s always snow in your driveway/ And you never get off Fridays.” Bronson croons the hook in his nasally, gritty timbre and combined with Mark Ronson’s piano-heavy melodies, “Baby Blue is a symphony of sounds.
“Galactic Love” is Bronson at his best, with rhymes so vivid, it’s cinematic. “At the piano with a glass of pinot/ All red silk like I’m Nino/ Custom-made shit, I weigh 140 kilos.” Bam Bam engages in several phone conversations with his mom, who boosts his ego with the same sailor mouth and cocky tongue as her son. The beat is smooth, with the Jazz baseline pulling most of the weight and leaving plenty of room for Bronson to spit circles around you. The album closes with the epic motorcycle saga “Easy Rider,” which also happens to be the first single released from the project.
Action Bronson seems unaffected by the pressures of delivering a game-changing debut, rather he’s far more concerned with presenting his most authentic self and just crafting good music. Mr. Wonderful isn’t necessarily what was expected or desired, but it’s genuine and Bronson doesn’t give a fuck what you think anyways. With open ears and allowing space for creativity, you’ll without a doubt appreciate the dynamic, expressive and theatrical musical that is Mr. Wonderful. And by the end of the journey, “ride the Harley into the sunset…”