Just eight months after dropping his critically acclaimed debut, Dr. Lecter, hip-hop’s second favorite culinary artist, Action Bronson, is back in the kitchen, and this time he has sous-chef Statik Selektah on grill duties, cooking up some heaters. The recipe is simple: dope rhymes over funky beats. No more, no less.
In a moment when hip-hop radio is dominated by the dark, moody backdrops of Drake and his imitators or the 808 patterns of the South, it is refreshing to hear an album that sounds like it could have been released in the 1990s, alongside records by East Coast greats like Gang Starr, the Beatnuts or Pete Rock & CL Smooth.
The difference is, in 2011, it’s not cool to be a rapper from New York. And Action Bronson, a proud native of Flushing, Queens, is unabashedly New York, from his Carhart gear all the way to his Knicks cap. Utilizing his Big Apple attitude, Bronsolinio seasons Statik’s sample-heavy produce with quirky food-obsessed similes about being fly and dreams of cashing in on his talent. “I’m looking crispy like a chicken cutlet/One wish is to get rich before I kick the bucket,” he raps.
That pairing works perfectly over such gems as “White Silk,” “Keep off the Grass” and “Cirque De Soleil”—a track that is so in the pocket, it doesn’t even need a chorus. The only aspect that’s hard to digest as a listener is AB’s non-sequitur lyrics. Borrowing the term from Lil Wayne, he could use more “concept songs,” that differentiate one track from another. “The Rainmaker,” a high point of Well Done, showcases that Bronson has the skill to stick to one topic and ride it out.
Still, once they digest this one, fans will be eager for seconds. —Jesse Gissen