Make Way for Mr. Wonderful

Getting to the bottom of my fascination with Action Bronson

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1393269022_action_bronson_shazam_28Obsessed may be too strong of a word to use. I would say incredibly intrigued would be more suitable.

Over the past two months or so I have grown incredibly intrigued by rapper Action Bronson. I’m not entirely sure why, although I have some ideas. To start with, I would say this whole thing kicked off when I started listening to Run the Jewels and if I were to ever give some dap to Action if ever coming face to beard with him, I’d give him props for names. Action Bronson is a great name. Run the Jewels is also a great name.

Wait…is Action Bronson even in Run the Jewels?

Run the Jewels is an American hip hop duo, formed by New York City-based rapper-music producer El-P and Atlanta-based rapper Killer Mike, in 2013.

Oh, never mind. Well, I mean, Run the Jewels is still pretty dope and intriguing, whether or not Bronson is involved. I don’t know why I thought he was part of them. Well, going to chalk this one up as another time when I just assumed something and it then eventually became something I took as fact.

Back to Bronson…

If you don’t know who Action Bronson is, well for starters, he is not a member of Run the Jewels, but he did once do a rap battle on a treadmill with Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike. And I’m well aware of how white that sounded…he did once do a rap battle…so there is no need to point that out. Bronson is also white, he is in fact, a substantially large white dude with an equally large beard. He’s from Queens and prior to rapping, he was an up and coming chef in New York City. Bronson turned to rapping after breaking his leg. He released his first album, Dr. Lecter, in 2011, an album that was available via digital download and CD-R. For you kids who just cocked your head in confusion, a CD-R is a blank CD. And a CD is something music used to be on. You bought them usually at record stores, which is a place where music was sold. As for Action, Bronson went on to win Rookie of the Year at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards…which is something I looked up. I’ve never actually watched a BET Awards show, let alone BET. I was probably busy watching Toad the Wet Sprocket videos on VH1.

Mr. Wonderful, Bronson’s major label debut, came out later this month, led by the singles “Easy Rider” and “Baby Blue,” which features youngster Chance the Rapper.

The song is straight up inviting either due to the bounce of the music or the easy flow of Bronson’s rapping. “Easy Rider” is a little harder, grimier. But overall Mr. Wonderful is a great showcase of Bronson’s versatility- he’s funny, he’s tight, he’s boisterous, he’s honest. He seems to have no delusions about who he is or harbor any desire to be anyone besides Action Bronson.

Action Bronson does also not take kindly to numb skulls jumping up his stage…

That was at one of his album release shows earlier this week in New York. Bronson has a history of going toe to toe with people jumping up on stage and no problem with putting them in their place. And while yeah, that’s kind of cool that he did that. What’s really cool is that he stopped mid-verse to chuck that dude off the stage, then proceed to pick up right where he left off. Oh and then later, he tossed sandwiches and flat screen TVs into the audience.

There is the whole white rapper thing, but I’m not sure that is something that is going to be a hindrance for Bronson- mainly because he seems to have the kind of street cred that diminishes such a hurdle and also because I don’t think he’ll ever reach the popularity that Macklemore did a few years ago; popularity that invited the backlash that Macklemore faced. I’m not sure if being a white rapper will ever be considered normal, just like I’m not sure if a black dude shredding rock riffs on a flying V guitar will ever escape confused looks and/or slight tinges of scorn- but either way, I think Action Bronson might be able to dodge the stigma attached to the white rapper. He’s good, but not too good- good to the point of inviting too much attention to himself. He’s just a solid rapper; something I think that will eventually trump race.

Action Bronson is not my favorite rapper and Mr. Wonderful might not have the staying power of some of the other great hip hop albums released in past years- but either way, chalk Bronson up as entertaining and someone to keep an eye on. I for one am intrigued, bordering on fascinated by him. It could be a phase, it could not be. No way of telling- which is something I’m totally cool with. You don’t need to fall in love with everything you hear that you like. Sometimes you can just be buddies with music.

And right now, I’m buddies with Action Bronson. And we’ll see where that takes us.

 

 

 

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