Salud! Queens product Action Bronson exudes joy in everything he does. Prior to his last LP, I had high praise for his music. Although White Bronco wasn’t my cup of tea it wasn’t a horrible album either. It simply felt uninspired. Amidst his creative dispute, and eventual split, with VICE the New York hip-hop and television star hit the pause button. During his brief hiatus, I wondered about his next musical project. Since his debut album, Mr. Wonderful, Bronson seems to have prioritized TV and YouTube over music. While his style is less serious than many other musical acts, he delivers some of the most creative lyrics in his class. He oozes with originality and personality. You know when you’re listening to an Action Bronson song. And that’s what I appreciate most from him. Here the lovable fine-dineman gets his groove back and then some.
Produced exclusively by close friend and legendary hip-hop beatmaker The Alchemist, Lamb Over Rice feels like vintage Action Bronson material. Even though most of these songs feature loose structure and simple hooks, the duo’s styles work incredibly well together. None of the beats found here will blow your mind. This is New York hip-hop — bombastic boom-bap brilliance. Humor, introspection, and absurd scenery blend seamlessly like creamy aioli on a fresh deli street sub. From now on, I’d like to hear these two only work with each other. Despite that never happening, at least — maybe, possibly — Action will stick with Al for chemistry’s sake. A quick EP showcase is exactly what Bronson needed at this point, in my opinion. The pressures of an album usually refine artists with a deeper message in their music. He’s no dummy, however. Bam-Bam (as he calls himself) knows when to sprinkle substance into his bars.
So, if you’re looking for the next groundbreaking music project, Lamb Over Rice is not that. Yet this 20-minute offering achieves its goal of uncensored fun and freedom. Alchemist’s beats go toe-to-toe with Action’s irreverent braggadocio. Also, I appreciated this EP having a centerpiece track. “Descendant of the Stars” doesn’t over-explain itself, though it certainly packs a lot of heart into three minutes. “As a descendant of the stars, it’s only right that I become one.” This mantra is one to which any artist can relate. References to Charles Barkley and Noah’s ark make little sense out of context. Nevertheless, Action Bronson finds a way to make it all feel natural. This is my second favorite track of his next to “Baby Blue,” which is one of the decade’s best hip-hop tracks. I raise a glass to you, Action Bronson, for continuing to be yourself despite the cost.