Cocodrillo Turbo

This is still an Action Bronson album. Yet again, he plays the sophisticated boor, your friendly local dirtbag who gets to say whatever he wants because everybody can tell he doesn’t really mean it (or he’s just so likable that they convince themselves he doesn’t). On the other hand, there’s something undeniably more interesting going on. Bronson’s gotten vaguely more progressive, rhyming “easily triggered by old trauma” with “you know I voted for Obama” on “Subzero,” and there’s probably like 40 percent less misogyny on Crocodrillo Turbo than usual. He also raps portions of almost every track from the perspective of various deadly beasts.

Communing and/or engaging in combat with nature is a steady theme on this record—and, to hear Bronson tell it, informed his mentality while making it. “I did a crocodile death-roll for 10 songs,” he told Blackbird Spyplane. Opening track “Hound Dog” begins with a sonic collage of roars, barks, and breaking glass before Bronson raps about “smoking drugs ass-naked, just a hat on” and “run[ning] a hundred miles in a downpour with six giraffes on my back.” On “Jaguar,” he’s both “jumpin’ over the hood of a Jaguar” and “in a tree” like a jaguar, and he kicks off “Jaws” by rapping about how he’s just killed a goat with his, uh, jaws. The record’s guests, including longtime collaborators Meyhem Lauren and Hologram (who happens to be Lauren’s brother), as well as underground stalwarts Roc Marciano and Conway the Machine, gamely step into Bronson’s biome. Conway nearly steals the show on “Tongpo,” embracing Bronson’s reputation as a wisecracker and one-upping him with a masterclass in intentionally tasteless humor, at one point pausing to laugh at his own bawdy Andrew Cuomo joke. Roc Marci’s verse on “Zambezi” is the greatest guest verse ever to include the phrase “horse poo.”

None of the madcap antics would land if there weren’t a suitable bed of beats for all the zaniness to rest upon, and in this regard, Crocodrillo Turbo delivers. Though Bronson has found success in the past working with a single producer on a project, here he taps a group including the Alchemist, Roc Marciano, Griselda stalwart Daringer, and himself. The music is almost uniformly psychedelic and spacey, with stray guitars wantonly wailing in some parts, insistent and razor-tight soul loops egging on the rapping in others. The album’s greatest musical achievement comes with closer “Storm of the Century,” a plaintive, drumless wonder from Daringer featuring saxophone work from Yung Mehico of Bronson’s live band the Special Victims Unit. Bronson raps the entire track not as a beast, dog, motherfuckin’ problem, goon, or even goblin, but instead as a man, one who walks the streets with a head full of regrets. “I’ve done things only the Devil knows/Got bicep tendonitis from revving the boat/And all this ancient knowledge, reverend, that’s from heavens ago,” he tells us. And while a common muscle injury sustained as a result of conventional watersports might not seem as mysterious as demonic deeds or the arcane teachings of yore, that’s just because you’re not using a sufficient level of Crocodile Logic. If you’re a big-ass reptile with no understanding of human society, boats are truly unknowable, not to mention inedible. Maybe that’s why Bronson sounds so electric on this record: His persona is motivated by raw power, yet he can still find wonder in the everyday.

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Action Bronson: Cocodrillo Turbo

Action Bronson