Here at Burbs, we find it important to come together to discuss our opinions and ideas about recent events in popular culture in order to develop a better overall understanding. This past weekend featured the release of Action Bronson's newest EP, Lamb Over Rice, produced entirely by The Alchemist. We rounded up our own versions of Bam Bam (Martin), Body (Ralph), Meyhem (Evan), and Charlie the Cab Driver (Marty) in order to gage their thoughts, ideas, and opinions on one of the most brazen figures in rap.
Questions composed by Jack Martin.
Typical question, but what were your initial impressions throughout your first listening?
Evan: My jaw physically dropped a handful of times throughout my first listen. Action Bronson was easily one of the most influential music figures of my adolescence; Bronson was one of the first rappers that helped me evolve past the “rap normie” phase of my pre-teen years. Listening to Lamb Over Rice for the first time, I felt like that shook 14-year-old kid again. The feeling was the same; LOR felt like an oasis in all of the other hot garbage dominating the mainstream. It only took me about two listens to declare LOR as one of my favorite hip-hop albums of the year.
Jack: I had a smile on my face, nodded my head, and just drove. I’ve been a Bronson fan for a while now; I consider him to be one of my greatest creative influences. I haven’t disliked his recent projects by any means, but LOR felt like a true return to form for Bronsolini. Like Evan said about feeling “like that shook 14-year-old again”, I was transported back to the first time I heard “Terry” in Mila, my beautiful black stallion of a 2007 Camry.
Marty: Straight New York. Bronson’s New York accent mixed with the very raw, complex instrumentals from The Alchemist make you feel like you are listening to Bronson freestyling on a corner in Queens or on 152nd street (I don’t even know if that's a street in New York but it sounds badass). Also, the extremely versatile and unique instrumentals caught my ear at first and are beautifully mixed.
Ralph: There are few artists left in the game that I listen to strictly because I want to experience lyrical wizardry, amongst those people are: Freddie Gibbs, Westside Gunn, Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamer, and of course the man we’re praising today, Action Bronson. And like he usually does, Bronson delivered what I wanted to hear and then some. His pure reference game has to be at the top of the pantheon. The man mentions more food dishes than I can fathom, and never fails to bring up 90’s era hoopers. Two things I truly adore, and especially appreciate in a time where mumble rap prevails.
“Fuck, That’s Delicious” has taken Bronson and friends all over the world to try exquisite meals and embark on gorgeous sightseeing adventures. If you could go anywhere and eat any meal while listening to Lamb Over Rice, where are you headed and what’s on your plate?
Evan: Oh man, this is tough. Send me to Sorrento, Italy. I’ll take an elegant bistro on the Amalfi Coast with a fat plate of amatriciana, a bottle of moscato, and endless Raw cones. Put LOR on a record player and let it loop all night.
Marty: I got to say Beef and Broccoli in Beijing or some shit. I mean the album is Lamb Over Rice so I feel like with rice in the name I have to do some sort of Chinese food. And that stuff is BIG gas.
Jack: Laguna Beach, California, mid-July. It’s not cold, but it’s certainly not warm. Perhaps a crisp 68 degrees so I can still wear my Birks but also enjoy the comfort of a Champion Reverse Weave hoodie while staring out at the endless baby blue ocean. In front of me are steak tacos dressed with the perfect amount of cilantro and chopped white onions with fresh limes ready to be squeezed all over them. Bronson’s entire discography will obviously be playing at a perfect volume and something nice will be placed gently on the perfectly hand-crafted Greek ashtray gifted to me by Chino whenever I eat while Body narrates each one of my bites.
Ralph: Okay, so here’s where the intense Des Moines bias slips it way in. Ever since I binged the entirety of FTTD, I’ve wanted to see how the big bodies crew and Alchemist would respond to my personal favorite restaurant: Christopher’s, located at the heart of Beaverdale. I’ve grown up on Christopher’s being that it was located immediately next to my elementary and middle school, so I would absolutely adore watching those 300 pound monsters devour their famous Chicken Parm with both marinara and Alfredo sauce. The rest of the things they’d order I would leave up to them, but that’s the one staple I’d require them to experience.
Bronson is a prolific bar-spitter, even if they don’t always make sense. With that being said, what is your favorite grouping of rhymes on the EP?
Evan: Honestly, I can’t determine my favorite group of bars due to the sheer amount of classics on LOR. I do know my favorite singular line, though: “I’m a star like good homework”. It’s basic, but sharp. I’ll expose myself - I’ve stashed it in my arsenal of potential Insta captions.
Marty: I had to pick the bar that opens “DMTri” which is “Bitch I'm a superhero, I wasn't born with dinero, Somehow I turned into De Niro”. Besides the actual dialogue, the way Bronson flows this line makes it so much more impactful. The play on words is superbly creative.
Jack: LOR is filled with bars that took me by storm, so here are a few that have stuck with me throughout my continued listenings:
“Down in Georgia on the Peach Grove / I shoot ninety-five percent from the free throw / Sixty from the field, strange sex appeal” - DMTri
“Finish my second joint, I’m lightin’ up the trilogy” - Accoutrements
“They tried to sign your boy to a deal like a Japanese pitcher / I heard Barkley bought a Mazda for a stripper / Yo, what a shitty tipper, that’s where we differ / I hand her the keys to the Bimmer to uplift her” - Descendent of the Stars
“Paul Simon of the rhyme mad wizards with the nine / This ear wax got me flying / Look in the mirror, see a lion” - Arnold & Danny
Ralph: “My jump shot got an arc like Noah / And ten of every animal can roll up / I part water like it’s an ordinary night / Every day it’s clearer that there’s more to life / You can catch me at the Grammy’s rockin’ white sweats / It’s obvious that I like sex.” - Descendant of the Stars
I just love imagining Action shooting hoops outdoors, and then pulling up to the Grammy’s a few hours later dropped out in an all white sweatsuit. His imagery is just so faithful to his persona.
With the release of Yacht Rock 2 in August and now Lamb Over Rice, The Alchemist has been on a roll. Bronson and Alc go together like a perfectly rolled joint and a gondola trip through Venice. What’s your favorite Alc beat on LOR?
Evan: The production is near flawless from start to finish, but I would be remiss not to choose “Dmtri” as my favorite beat. Those fuckin’ synths, man. Or is it an organ? I don’t even know, but it’s otherworldly.
Marty: As this album is filled with a stew of abstract, abstruse beats, I have to pick “Arnold and Danny”. The silky and daze-y guitar riff combined with a simple 808 just really cater to Bronson’s voice. It makes a very delicate sound and the “la-da-da’s” from AB just makes me enjoy the track even more (side note: I did NOT see the Alchemist having a verse on the project! It was honestly very soothing though).
Jack: I’m going with “Accoutrements”. It’s just so nice. My musical lexicon is not anywhere near my fellow writers on this piece, so that’s the word I’m going to go with to describe it. I genuinely enjoy every song on LOR, but “Accoutrements” is the one I’ve been going back to most. The end chorus comes in and just hits you, I wish it was longer. It doesn’t seem to be a sample which means they must’ve done that in-studio; bravo Alc. YR2 and LOR are two of my favorite albums of the year, largely due to Alc’s production. It’s masterful and I hope him and Action keep pumping out tapes like this.
Ralph: This is like asking me what my favorite appetizer at the aforementioned Christopher’s is. I could go with Kim’s Chicken Tenders and the honey mustard that accompanies it, but that’d be a disservice to their bruschetta. I could go with their stuffed mushrooms, but that’d be an insult to their mozzarella sticks. These ain’t no ordinary appetizers people. As the saying goes, If you know then you fucking know. Alchemist is the cook in the kitchen and I’ll be beyond satisfied with whichever dish he serves me.
Lamb Over Rice felt like a return to form for Bronson, musically speaking. Where do you want to see Bronson take his music in his next few projects?
Evan: A whole lot more of this sound. I always try to respect the experimentation and evolution of my favorite artists, even if I’m not the biggest fan of their new sound (*cough* Kanye and Chance this year *cough*). I respect the experimentation Bronson’s done with his past few projects, but they’ve missed the mark for me. Like I said in my first answer, LOR allowed me to re-experience the magic that overcame me when I first discovered Bronson. I need him to continue this current trajectory so that I can continue to inject his music into my veins like a trembling fiend.
Marty: Keep going in this direction and don’t even think of looking back. With that being said, evolution is also good. Without changing anything you do, your music will get stale and that’s when artists fall into oblivion. So, I want Action Bronson to go towards a direction where his elegant New York flow is not harmed but with a variety of different instrumentals.
Jack: Just keep on grinding. If you’ve watched FTD, listened to any of Action’s projects, or read either of his books, you know that he’s not one to mail it in or stay on a continued routine. The man simply inhales too much wax to not get a little bit whacky in the studio, but that’s what makes Bronson Bronson. He’s truly taking the adventure that is life and is doing it to his version of the fullest. Hopefully he keeps working with Alc because this EP is nuts, but whatever he does, I’m going to be there supporting Day 1.
Ralph: MORE ALCHEMIST INSTRUMENTAL CHEMISTRY. MORE BODY AD-LIBS ALONG THE LINES OF “I GOT SHOT TWICE DURING BIRTH, AND I’M STILL STANDING I’LL PUT YOUR ASS IN THE DIRT.” MORE MEYHEM TALKING ABOUT HOW HE MAKES SWEET, SENSUAL LOVE TO OLDER WOMEN. ALL THAT. I REFUSE FOR MY ANSWER TO BE IN ANYTHING BUT CAPS LOCK FOR THIS QUESTION.