Action Bronson | House of Blues | Hip-Hop | Chicago Reader
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Action Bronson

Action Bronson

Tom Gould

When: Tue., April 21, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $29.50
Queens rapper Action Bronson broke out three years ago on the strength of a freewheeling mixtape called Blue Chips. He feeds off scattershot instrumentals sampled from YouTube by producer Party Supplies and delivers off-the-dome lines that capture his larger-than-life personality. An oversize lothario and former chef, Bronson has a colorful persona that nods to 70s exploitation flicks, professional wrestling, and the mangled old streets of his city—and his lyrics come through in a thick New York accent. Blue Chips is so loose it seems liable to collapse, and part of the fun comes in hearing Bronson hold everything together with verve and braggadocio. He replicates the same magic on his major-label debut, Mr. Wonderful (Atlantic), which is quite a feat given the deluge of rappers who wring out all of their eccentricities for big studio full-lengths. Bronson ties together the kind of elements other MCs would use as filler to pad albums (interludes, drawn-out outros, live recordings, etc) and allows them to become necessary parts of Mr. Wonderful’s pulse and aesthetic. He’s broadened his musical wheelhouse by putting his fingerprints all over post-Drake minimal melancholy (“Actin Crazy” is produced by Drake’s buddy Noah “40” Shebib) and Mark Ronson’s high-gloss neo-soul (like on “Baby Blue,” which features Chance the Rapper). The makeup of the album looks odd on paper— and seems a little off on record—but Bronson’s masterful playfulness always makes everything right. —Leor Galil
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