Earlier this year Action Bronson got himself some innanet love with his well received Dr. Lector LP. The certified chef took off his cooking apron to indulge his appetite for words… words that sounded rawer than a slaughtering house on a cow farm. Bronson grabbed the dusty ears of old heads and the minds of younger fans looking for something beyond personality first blogosphere rap. For his second full length in less than year, Bronson links up with Statik Selektah for Well Done. For over a decade Statik Selektah has been putting in work as a radio / mixtape DJ, and in the past four years releasing over 10 compilations / full lengths and EPs with various underground rappers. Statik’s aesthetic is menacing samples with hard drums that go together with Action’s word play like extra bacon in a Philly Cheese Steak.
While Well Done has a lot of upbeat grime, one of its best early moments is the bright and colorful sound of “Cocoa Butter” assisted by the sweet vocals of Nina Sky over boastful horns and shimmying drums. In a better world the song would be blazing on our mainstream radio waves. “White Silk” follows with its minimal but lush groove guided by a pimp-ish Spanish guitar loop that Bronson spills dynamic couplets over like home-made syrup on buttermilk pancakes. “The Rainmaker” is one of the albums more emotive and introspective moments where Bronson paints the road he’s traveled to rap, the thoughts that concern his deeper self, and his aspirations for material success. It’s a proper reflective moment that breaks up the pace of the album and moves into the bitter verbal acid of “Love Letter”. The song being a short gothic reflection on a spoiled relationship over some nice chipmunk soul chops.
Like most albums in this vein, Well Done drags and feels dull at points due to Bronson’s relentless verbal calisthenics and Statik’s traditionalist approach to beat-making. But overall there is nothing wrong with either approach. For those coming into an Action-Statik record looking for that good ol’ meat-n-potatoes rappity-rap boom-bap there is plenty of it on Well Done. “Respect The Mustache”, the perfectly titled “No Enough Words” and the posse cut “Terror Death Camp” all revolve around the compression of words that conjure prison, drug sales, historical figures, sports, food, and pussy, among other things. Metaphorically speaking Bronson unleashes words as easily as a bird flying with the wind at its back.
While lazier rap aficionado’s have understandably compared Bronson’s light nasal delivery to the great Ghostface, Bronson’s charisma and wit all his own. In all honesty, Bronson actually reminds me more of Big Pun in that his raps are a hybrid of ghetto dialectics with a battle rappers approach. It’s easily accessed, but forceful rhyming that is both populist and technical. Yet unlike Pun or Ghost, Bronson is yet to truly master the art of the crossover or poignant emoting. If anything Well Done proves that an unflinching love of words over soulful samples and hard loops will never get old when expressed with desire and hunger. Hopefully Well Done continues to get Bronson and Statik more shine, and shows other rappers and listeners traditionalist rap can still be fun and engaging.