Award-winning chef, actor, TV host, author, and rapper. The list probably goes on but if you came across Action Bronson on the streets of Queens, he is most likely the last person you would associate any of these terms with. The big, bearded ginger is not what most people would expect of a rapper, however, now onto his fifth studio record, he seems to be aging like his favorite fine wine in France. Personally, I have been a fan of Action Bronson for a few years now since I first heard his collab with Chance the Rapper on “Baby Blue.” With that said, I have gone and listened through much of his catalog, all while patiently waiting for this new album to drop. White Bronco is everything fans were hoping for, between jazzy beats, braggadocious lyrics, and of course, Bronson’s gruff voice.
I have always been drawn to Bronson’s vocals in particular since I first listened to his mixtape Mr. Wonderful. His voice isn’t too appealing and his flows are often choppy and rough, however, his lyrics are what make his music plain fun to listen to. On “Irishman Freestyle,” he boasts about his upcoming movie with Martin Scorsese and Robert Deniro, while including comedic free-flowing lines such as, “I caught a DUI coming out the Trey Songz concert. Shit was bonkers, Bronson slam like Giannis (Uh).” Obviously, the heavyset Albanian-American from Queens is most likely not dunking like the Greek Freak, however, with the close tie between basketball and hip-hop, its fun to see so many funny NBA references throughout. I tried to count every sports reference on this album before I realized there are multiple on each track. He also includes three solid features, two of which come from his crew. Meyhem Lauren joins Bronson on “Brutal” and his first four lines just demonstrate how much he fits in.
“Head crack, bread stack, I’m a G
Iced out like Pat Ewing’s knee
All white, alright, I’m the hood pope
Break night, take flight, got the good dope”
Bronson follows it up with a feature on “Ring Ring” with his close friend Big Body Bes who just yells “Machine gun moneyyyyyy” on each refrain. Yet, what surprised me the most on my first listen was the feature on the final track, “Swerve on Em.” A$AP Rocky joins Bronson to complete White Bronco, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would work, but in the end, just makes sense. Two New York rappers coming together to make music is a tale as old as hip-hop itself. It just works.
Here at Colossus, we seem to like jazzy, groovy albums. Just look at JMac’s Tom Misch review as an example. It’s only a matter of time before I finally get around to reviewing my favorite album of all-time, A Tribe Called Quest’s Low End Theory. Due to my affinity towards jazzy records, is it really much of a surprise that I loved the beats on White Bronco? No, not at all. Throughout almost every track, we are hit with tight bass lines and some really funky guitar pieces. Being an independent record, Bronson could go in any direction he chose to. With his mixed bag of producers, it seems this is exactly what he did. He worked with longtime collaborator Harry Fraud on multiple tracks as well as two more new producers, Daringer and Knxwledge. More notably, Knxwledge’s tracks such as “Live from the Moon,” “Picasso’s Ear,” and “Prince Charming” pop out to me due to their heavy use of the saxophone, a nice touch to an already very jazzy White Bronco.
As I have mentioned a few times now, VICE was not the record label for this latest Action Bronson release. In late October, Bronson announced he was leaving media giant on both the music and television ends. A day later, he released his first independent project, a sort of new chapter for the Queens rapper. With no one to answer to, Bronson let this album be his own, with its smooth transitions, clean mixes, and strange samples. Throughout, we hear the neighs of a “Bronco” which seems to signify the “wild, untamed nature” of the project, rather than the true definition of a horse. Bronson also provides us with scratched out screaming on the intro of “Telemundo” and the school drug PSA on the outro of “Mt. Etna.”
“White Bronco,” “Irishman Freestyle,” “Prince Charming,” and “Live from the Moon”
This album was everything Bronson fans were waiting for. It has comical lyrics, jazzy tracks, and flows like a river. Your best bet is to light a joint or crack a bottle and let this album go as you play some Red Dead Redemption 2.