Action Bronson / Statik Selektah

Well-Done

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With references to duck prosciutto, smoked brisket, and carpaccio, former chef-turned-MC Action Bronson's first collaborative effort, Well-Done, is certainly the most culinary-themed rap record you'll hear this year. But backed by East Coast hip-hop DJ Statik Selektah's trademark horn stabs, chopped-up vocal samples, and laid-back beats, the follow-up to acclaimed debut Dr. Lecter shows that there's more to the Albanian New Yorker than just a plate of food metaphors. The bitter riposte to a former lover on the retro soul-tinged "Love Letter," the slightly sinister "Terror Death Camp" (also featuring Meyhem Lauren, Maffew Ragazino, and AG Da Coroner), and the Redman-sampling "Time for Some" make the best use of his brash and bravado-fueled delivery, which has earned him comparisons with the likes of Ghostface Killah. But as if to counterbalance the unnecessary homophobic and misogynistic lyrics which pervade its 15 tracks, Bronson also occasionally reveals his softer side, whether it's the vinyl-scratching mellow jazz of "Central Bookings," the smooth street soul of the Nina Sky-fronted "Cocoa Butter," or the melancholic "The Rainmaker," an introspective look at his battles within the music industry, while the Latino percussion and mariachi horns on "Miss Fordham Road (86' 87' 88')" provides a welcome, carnival-style respite from the album's predominantly gritty atmosphere. Adhering to the old-school MC/producer approach, Well-Done is a promising and cohesive affair which proves Bronson has the raw talent to match his much talked about appetite.

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