The original draft for Rare Chandeliers was being formed around the time I wrote our piece on Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II… While reflecting on that album two things dawned on me: one, how over the past 15 years very few rap albums have expressed Bizarre’s type of cathartic fun; and two, that we as music writers sometimes jump through too many hoops to try and reason our tastes. Even when I re-read my review for Bronson and Statik’s LP from last year, I cringed at how hard I tried to justify my love for music that didn’t sound like it was of the now-now, but a re-imagining of sounds passed. So this review will be nothing more than openly bias admiration.
From the moment the “Big Body Bes” intro dramatically hits, you know this is going to be some hilarious raw rap shit, because they “done come a long way from stealing out of Super Markets”. The lead single “The Symbol” sounds like a long lost gem from a blaxploitation flick that never got released. All psychedelic air guitar and humming blues bass for Bronson to spit his fly big boy personality raps. On “Sylvester Lundgren” (don’t let the song title went over your head), Alchemist sounds as if during one of his DMT trips he captured the spirit of The Beatminerz at the height of their powers in 95, and brought it back for Action, Meyhem Lauren and Ag Da Coroner to display the art of emceeing. Blunted bass lines, funky barely audible samples, dusty drums, and raps about taking heads lyrically are the soul of this rap shit.
Than there are the three movements of “Randy The Musical” that Bronson uses to conjure varying images of sex, food, drugs, and street life like paint coming out the cans of legends. ScHoolboy Q joins the street cinema with his raucous energy on “Demolition Man” that basically has Rare Chandeliers at 18 minutes of non-stop fun at this point, with ad-libs like “slow the beat down 30 gigahertz” or lines like “loving girls with African body and Asian face.”
The album only gets better as it moves into the slo-mo pimpery of “Modern Day Revelations” featuring the rap King Cobra Roc Marciano styling over abrupt church organs and a chopped up soulful croon. But the album’s jewel is the Evidence assisted “Bitch, I Deserve You”: a song where both rappers build on the trope of being built for the rap game, while also reminiscing on ex-girls that can only look at them with admiration at their success. Lead by Alchemist’s subdued triumphant horns and chilling piano sample the song is pure rap bliss.
There are no political polemics, social philosophizing, or high-minded concepts and themes on Rare Chandeliers. It’s not trying to be “THEEE ALBUM”. It’s just Bronson, Alchemist, and their friends deep frying that white halibut, with a side of rice, some brews and a sack of pfff and mushrooms producing better results than 99 percent of what’s out there. That lifestyle rap with lovable cartoonish thugging and sex with a smile. It’s a palpable joy that is heard as the duo place moments of the studio sessions after songs with Bronson clowning around singing Soul Glow.
All this and I haven’t even spoken about the menacing second half of “Gateway to Wizardry” featuring an always on point Styles P, or the grizzly bully raps of “Blood of the Goat” featuring favorite Sean P. Objectively speaking I don’t think I could argue Rare Chandeliers is “better” than say R.A.P. Music or good kid, m.A.A.d. city, but it damn sure sits comfortably right next to them. So I end with a shout out “to the Polish sluts / with the gorgeous butts”, Bronsolinho!