Action Bronson’s long-awaited major label debut album, Mr. Wonderful, is finally here, and what better way to celebrate its release than by counting down his 25 best songs. It’s been a wild and crazy ride for the Flushing, Queens, chef turned MC and rapper leading up to this moment. What started simply as blog buzz in 2011 has gone right into a full-blown cult following, with fans across the world showing their adoration for the husky, big-bearded hunk with blunted bars of steel. Action Bronson is a hero in his hometown, baby. And out of town, they love and worship him just the same, if not more.
Though rap artist Bronson’s first official major label full-length album is just being released this week, he's been dropping quality product for nearly half a decade. His discography after only four years on the scene is dumb deep. He’s cooked up full projects with Tommy Mas, Statik Selektah, Party Supplies (twice), and the Alchemist. On top of that, he's blessed endless collaborations and features with industry heavy-hitters young and old. Dude definitely stays on his job. So, as you can imagine, there was plenty of lyric material to sift through while putting this menu together. His catalog is as massive as his stage presence.
OK, enough with the wine and cheese, here’s our main course—Action Bronson’s 25 Best Songs, carefully prepared, and loaded with flavor. Hope you brought your appetite, and your lungs.
Daniel Isenberg is a writer living in New York. Follow him @StanIpcus
Listen the full playlist of these songs here.
26. “Sylvester Lundgren” f/ Meyhem Lauren and AG Da Coroner (2012)
25. “Northern and Roozy” (2012)
24. “The Rising” f/ Big Body Bes (2015)
Album: Mr. Wonderful
Produced by: Statik Selektah
Though we’ve just ripped the packaging off our Mr. Wonderful CD, the force of “The Rising” has propelled us to include it on this short list. During a recent SXSW listening session, Bronson compared the song to the scene in The Terminator when Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives on Earth naked. Maybe that visual doesn’t connect well with millennials, but nevertheless, once this powerful, Statik Selektah track drops and Action starts spitting that fire, there’s nothing left to do but bang your head and scrunch your face up. As for Bronson’s sidekick Big Body, well, he’s back on his shit, bragging about how you might see his face “stamped on a bag of dope,” and how he treats his lawyer to Crown Fried Chicken. Amazing.
23. The Alchemist f/ Action Bronson and Roc Marciano “Pool Hall Hustler” (2013)
22. Fat Joe f/ Action Bronson “Your Honor” (2013)
21. “Heel Toe” (2013)
20. “Amadu Diablo” (2013)
19. A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Yelawolf, Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$, Big K.R.I.T., & Action Bronson “1 Train” (2013)
18. Domo Genesis f/ Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt, & Action Bronson “Elimination Chamber” (2012)
17. “Rolling Thunder” (2013)
16. “Easy Rider” (2014)
Album: Mr. Wonderful
Produced by: Party Supplies
We weren’t exactly sure what to expect from a major label Action Bronson album. And being the eclectic rap artist that we know and love, Bronson kept it unpredictable with this first Mr. Wonderful single release. It’s a psychedelic track, anchored by a wailing electric guitar riff that lends itself to dropping tabs in the desert and—as the chorus suggests—riding Harley Davidson motorcycles into the sunset. Those who were hoping for a more straight-forward styled boom bap rap song to kick-start his debut may have been thrown off at first, but once the high of this joint kicks in, the sensation is undeniable.