Published Mar 23, 2015Welcome to the world of Action Bronson, a kaleidoscopic mix of genre-bending and brave mutations. The Queens rapper's long-awaited major label debut album, Mr. Wonderful, is still informed by the fantastic imagery and comedic charm that Bam Bam is acclaimed for, but it also shifts his emphasis slightly; here, Bronson is framed as a more serious artist focused on experimentation.
Since the days of Rare Chandeliers and the Blue Chips series, Bronson has showcased his gift for sonically teleporting listeners to his hometown of Queens, making it seem as though they're seated them around his hazy studio as he records his charismatic numbers. As Bronson kicks things off with the light-hearted, Billy Joel-sampling "Brand New Car," the characteristic nuances are there, although the reach spans larger than NY this time around. Bam Bam travels internationally on his debut LP: to London, where the ladies love him, and Prague, where the crowd chants his name.
At the middle of the album, Bronsolini delivers a three-part musical packed with soulful jazz and bluesy melodies unexplored in his previous work. "City Boy Blues," morphs into "A Light in the Addict," followed by the Chance The Rapper-assisted "Baby Blue," before Bronson rides his Harley into the sunset over Turkish-sampled production provided by Party Supplies on the career-defining "Easy Rider."
"My life is a kaleidoscope," Action Bronson asserts on the confident "The Rising." Like any colourful kaleidoscope however, there's a lack of cohesion on this debut, as varying production clashes throughout the disorganized project. That's a minor quibble, though; if you look closely, and let the visuals clash and morph into something new, you'll still find plenty to wonder at. (Vice/Atlantic)