Action Bronson. Where do you even begin?
If you're uninitiated, the Queens rapper's (and Mets chef's!) last mixtape, Blue Chips, is a fantastic place to start. Bronson is an impressive wordsmith with a distinctive yap and a knack for imagery. Rare Chandeliers, for which he teamed up with producer the Alchemist, doesn't elevate Bronson at all, but he's still in good form.
“Randy the Musical” is true to its name and Bronson's penchant for storytelling (heard at its best on Blue Chips' “Hookers at the Point”). The Alchemist cycles through a few different beats over the four-and-a-half-minute track, and you can picture a pit orchestra at Bronson's feet while he spits poetry about his life.
And speaking of his life, or at least his feelings about it, Bronson sounds more ballsy than ever. There's less self-depreciation (though it's not gone) and more aggression. Tracks like “Demolition Man” or “Dennis Haskins” just feel harder than what we're used to hearing from Bronson. That comes in part from the darker, guitar-heavy beats the Alchemist lays down, but it's also in Bronson's deadly serious tone.
“Eggs on the Third Floor” is crazy fun and a reminder of why Bronson is seen as a New York hip-hop revivalist. And on that note, it's worth something that Roc Marciano -- another rapper earning that praise -- appears on “Modern Day Revelations”
Horn-heavy beats like the one on “Bitch I Deserve You,” plus its twinkling piano, or throwback guitar style on “The Symbol” seem to fit Bronson better. Reaching way back in time for samples worked well for producer Party Supplies on Blue Chips, and maybe so well that changing the recipe on Rare Chandeliers feels wrong.
You can't fault the guy for trying to move forward, even if the result is just a so-so change-up, because even if he never gets any better, he's still damn good.
Follow Ashley Dean on Twitter: @AshaleyJill