Bronsolino has cooked up another fantastic recipe in the studio, and with help from his good friend The Alchemist and Mark Ronson it’s no surprise that it’s quite delectable. Mr. Wonderful is the first studio album released by the Albanian chef turned rapper, and it contains some classic Bam Bam with tracks like “Easy Rider” and “Actin’ Crazy.” Unfortunately, however, some ambitious experimentation with rock n roll keeps the project from being truly flawless.
With past work like Dr. Lecter and Blue Chips 1 & 2 there was no doubt that Mr. Wonderful would be of the utmost quality, the musical equivalent of a five star dish. And for the most part, this is the case. The album flows well with slowed down and jazzy songs being interspersed with more up-beat jazz-rock bangers. “Brand New Car,” the first track, sets the album up well, letting the listener know that this may not be a typical Action project but it’s going to be good nonetheless. And this feeling continues up until “Thug Love Story 2017(The Musical),” an out of place skit that features a man name Ezra belting his heart out about love in the streets. From their Mr. Wonderful takes a turn and Bronsolino starts to experiment with singing. While it works well on tracks like “Baby Blue” and “Brand New Car,” it’s when Action moves away from singing just the hook and attempts to croon for an entire track, most notably “City Boy Blues,” that the problems start to arise. Luckily this is the only song in which he attempts such a feet, and it really could be cut out of the album entirely. “Only In America” on the other hand should definitely have been left off the album, as the constant heavy guitar is quite annoying, as is the background vocals provided by Party Supplies. Action’s rapping on this track doesn’t flow well with the production, and it is an immediate skip when it comes up.
However, when you move past the shortcomings of Mr. Wonderful, you get an album that is, just as the name suggests, wonderful. The heavy jazz and blues influence on the album is apparent right from the beginning as colorful piano riffs pepper the entirety of the album. Another prominent musical element that is prevalent throughout the project is the use of jazz and rock guitar riffs. For the most part these blend well over the rest of the production, especially on “Falconry” where the guitar adds a haunting effect to the simple beat. And who can forget the wailing guitar that is the staple of “Easy Rider,” which is quite possibly the best track off the album. Action’s lyricism on the album is impressive as well, with lines like “The specialty is white snake in underwear sauce,” and “Damn bad chick on top of me, pornography/ And I know she only want me for my guap-ery” serving as classic Bronsonisms. Features from Meyhem Lauren and Chance the Rapper are welcome additions as well, and of course Big Body Bes makes an appearance and graces us with his musings. The man is an American treasure after all, and he makes sure you aren’t going to forget it.
Overall, Mr. Wonderful is a promising first studio release from Bam Bam. The experimentation may have come too soon for the budding artist, but it’s promising that Action is doing what he wants and not letting the critics nor the norms of the music industry control him, which is apparent from the twitter rant that followed the release of the album. During said rant Bronson stated: “If I did what you wanted, I wouldn’t be me,” asserting such a position. Furthermore, this is an album meant to be listened to all the way through, which is exactly what a first time listener should do. So you keep doing you Bronsolino, and we’ll eagerly await your next meal.