Following an underwhelming 2017 project, Action Bronson trades shallow bangers for a refinement in his most prolific style. On White Bronco, the Queens MC draws heavily from the jazz sound that producers Party Supplies, The Special Victims Unit, Daringer, KNXWLEDGE, and Samiyam know all too well. This experiment has its, but in it's entirety succeeds in exhibiting a blend of Action's goofy flow with a catalog of nostalgic instrumentals.
Action Bronson is a rare breed.
In today's industry, few rappers are as undeniably polarizing as the hefty Queens artist embodies on a day-to-day basis. Whether he's eating copious amounts of food on Fuck That's Delicious or posting pictures with his kinfolk, draped in twenty different animal skins, Action is so insanely charismatic it's surreal.
Before he adopted the role as a jack-of-all-trades in the entertainment business, the Albanian rapper found his niche as a chef for various NYC restaurants.
Much like his background in cooking, Action's musical style since his inception has been an unpredictable fusion of sounds, ideas and sonics; an intricate cuisine of sorts.
Since his earliest mixtapes, Bronson has briefly included the soundscapes of jazz into his music, using The Alchemist and Party Supplies as his right-hand-men for this vision.
If his previous work saw small brush strokes of this interesting mixture, then White Bronco is a full on painting.
Does this "fusion rock" sound work from start to finish? Not entirely, but on White Bronco, Bronson allows for his producers to handle a daunting workload, incorporating elements from the saxophone, electric guitar, string bass, and jazz-heavy drums.
On "Irishman Freestyle", Party Supplies takes a vintage sample layered with trumpets and banging percussion. Action starts his verse by exclaiming:
I caught a DUI coming out the Trey Songz concert Shit was bonkers, Bronson slam like Giannis (Uh) Mega wellness hat, I'm unconscious (True) Don't drink gin and tonic (No) Only natural wine to be honest (True) Your chick plastic like fake rice from China (Uh) Staring in the mirror like, "I hate my vagina" (Yew)
Clearly, Bronson's intention is not to deliver a serious message. Like the bars above, his sole goal is to rap about extravagance and comedic experiences, a stark contrast from the smooth, deeply-layered beat that he spits over.
Preceding "Irishman Freestyle", Bronson recruits Daringer for a smooth, fast-paced instrumental. When I gave this track an initial listen, I was convinced that Thundercat or Flying Lotus was responsible for the production. It's overwhelming use of what sounds like Phil Collins debut fusion-rock band, Brand X.
This trend continues throughout White Bronco on jazz-heavy tracks like "Dr. Kimble", "Picasso's Ear" and "Ring Ring".
In addition to this obvious style, Bronson takes advantage of heavy electric guitar chords on a few songs.
My personal highlight on White Bronco is "Brutal", the album's sixth track and a collaboration with Meyhem Lauren, Bronson's resident posse member alongside Big Body Bes and The Alchemist. The aggressive nature of the songs power chords and Meyhem's gritty, deep voice work off of each other seamlessly. Action Bronson's bars are so well put together with the songs cadence, and overall, "Brutal" is a refreshing change of pace for the generally glossy MC.
One of the things I enjoy doing is setting a scene for an album's aesthetic.
White Bronco is too easy
Close your eyes.
It's a rainy Friday night in downtown Queens. You find yourself in a hazy blues room, glass of whisky in hand.
The crowd claps as Bronson strides onto stage like a cowboy from hell. Microphone in hand, Bronson is dressed in a red velvet blazer and boots crafted from the skin of a King Cobra. He's glowing, and the glare from his diamond-encrusted chain bounces off your half-empty glass of aged whiskey.
The performance ensues.
Bronson's heavy voice glides over an ensemble of brass, percussion and electric chords, filling the room like a gray haze.
Much like this scenario, White Bronco speaks to Bronson's strength in sonic diversity. Typically, most traditional rappers wouldn't dare touch the stratosphere of jazz and blues.
Action Bronson embraces it.
This album is not for all ears, but if you appreciate the unorthodox fusion of jazz and rap, White Bronco is a formidable example of this.
Bronson takes the horns, drums and guitars and rides them like a matador over 11 short, concise tracks. From front to back, White Bronco is a success in my eyes, as well as a potential step away from the "Blue Chips" era and onto bigger and better things.
Keep rolling Bronson, it's a thumbs up from me.