White Bronco (released November 2, 2018)
The best thing about Action Bronson is that you never know what he’s gonna do – or say – next.
He’s that crazy kid that sat in the back of your seventh-grade class, tormenting teachers with his class-clown antics, grossing out girls with his weirdness but lowkey getting good grades when he bothered to apply himself.
An unpredictable, hilarious, infuriating creative genius.
Now five LPs deep into his decade-long career, Bronson is both a vet in the booth and the small screen, thanks to his travel and talk shows, but he doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel on White Bronco. It’s the same brand of controlled chaos that made Bam Bam an industry name – production that runs the gamut from jazz to hip-hop to rock and back again, with insane quotables that will have you spinning the track back again and again.
Bronsolino is the king of the non-sequiturs, which makes his rants so fun.
“Next date, Beijing, Papi, I’m a made man/Have little man do a front flip out of the gray van/Give all your mans a f***ing spray tan/I headbutt, b****, I don’t shake hands” – “Dr. Kimble”
“What if murder was the case and Papi need a pancreas?/Shoot him in his a**, make his stanky leg the stankiest” – “Mt. Etna”
“Purple X6 truck driven by a cheetah/Look, it’s Don Cheadle – no, it’s just me, ho” – “Live from the Moon”
Out of anyone else’s mouth, those bars would be absolutely ridiculous. But Bronson delivers them with such a confident swag that they’re elevated from dumb to dopeness.
As always, White Bronco’s production is as varied as its subject matter. Raging acoustics back “Dr. Kimble,” while Bronson drags the brass section along for “Irishman Freestyle.” The shredding guitar on “Telemundo” is especially noteworthy.
It’s not just jokes, though. There’s some cool artistry here as well. “Prince Charming” almost starts out as a soulful love track before Bronson snaps out of it and turns up the heat: “Enough of that soft s***, me by myself is like the Four Horsemen/You’re just a poor sportsman, your sports car could be your coffin.”
Bronson keeps the wrestling metaphors going on “Picasso’s Ear” (“Man, I’m just watching all these actors from the rafters like Sting”) before finding really good chemistry with A$AP Rocky on the etherial “Swerve on Em.”
White Bronco is a fun listen in the moment but, like many of his previous albums, it struggles to stick with you after the track ends. Nearly every song here is a good time, but they lack the draw needed to keep you coming back for repeat spins.
It’s like that kid in class – hilarious in the moment, but it’s hard to remember his barrage of one-liners by the end of the day.
Maybe Bronson recognizes it himself. “Swerve on Em” ends with this line, “Ever since my childhood, I grown to be, astonishing, notice me/Just notice me.”
He just wants your attention by any means necessary.
Best tracks: “Prince Charming,” “Swerve on Em,” “Telemundo”
3.5 stars out of 5