1. If you’re not Kanye West, then maybe you shouldn’t open your debut album knowing fully well that you can’t carry a tune.
2. This was easily the second worst hip-hop album released in 2015 that I’ve heard so far – though admittedly, I didn’t actively seek out the bad ones (why would I? Why would you? A social game?). Exactly half of this album is filler: “Falconry,” “THUG LOVE STORY 2017 THE MUSICAL,” “A Light in the Addict,” “Galactic Love” and “The Passage”, fuck-me codas everywhere (ie. “Terry”) and arguably “City Boy Blues” since Bronson doesn’t rap on it (though it has a solid groove). And on songs like “Brand New Car” or “Only In America”, it’s hard not to think we’ve heard it before and heard it better (compare to “Silverado” and the less-stilted “The Symbol” thanks to a groove in addition to a electric guitar riff, respectively); Bronson self-sabotages “Baby Blue” with more of his singing. Which leaves “The Rising”, “Terry,” “Actin’ Crazy” and “Easy Rider” which aren’t perfect themselves (check out that fucking splicing error on “Easy Rider” – the album’s best song – at the 0:40 mark, or is that just my copy?).
I defended Bronson in 2013 against comparisons to Ghostface Killah; I mentioned that he relies more on one-liners (I even went so far as to describe them as “absurd,” but that’s a misuse of the word) than Ghostface, who focus more on the narrative. In other words, Action Bronson’s verses are their parts while Ghostface’s verses/songs/full albums are often a gestalt. Except it’s obvious that Bronson just doesn’t have the capability of executing a concept; jokes and in-jokes are easier, but even in that realm, he gets upstaged by Chance the Rapper on “Baby Blue” four times over. (And he even goes so far as to quote Acid Rap‘s “Lost” on “Falconry,” except, he doesn’t pull off that album’s emotion because he’s one of the least genuine artists available in that compartment.) Er, yeah, what Pitchfork‘s Jordan Sargent said, in a rare recent instance of the website calling out a once-loved artist on their shit instead of slapping a lukewarm score and saving face.
Last word: this is significantly worse than any Ghostface album, including the obvious one that you’re thinking of.