by Elias Karikas
Lamb Over Rice is the brainchild of New York artist’s Action Bronson and The Alchemist. Action Bronson is a Queens-based rapper, most known for his outrageous on-stage personality, and his love for cooking through his various television shows. These include: “F**k, That’s Delicious” a food travel show, “Traveling the Stars: Action Bronson and Friends Watch Ancient Aliens,” a show whose subject matter is exactly as it sounds, and the “Untitled Action Bronson Show,” where Bronson hosts a cooking show with various celebrities and chefs.
Everywhere Action Bronson goes New York follows, along with his crew of long-time friends and collaborators Meyhem Lauren, Big Body Bes and the Alchemist. The Alchemist stands out from the rest of Bronson’s crew, as he is a prolific producer. He is a DJ, as well, whose tenure in the rap genre spans from the early 1990s as an associate and friend of Mobb Deep and The Dilated Peoples, to the mid to late-2000s as Eminem’s official DJ, to today, with collaborations which include but are not limited to Earl Sweatshirt, Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs, Benny the Butcher, Snoop Dogg and Jadakiss.
Bronson and The Alchemist have an off-stage friendship and chemistry that carries over to the music, and creates a project that makes the listener feel as if they are in on the joke. In between “Descendant of The Stars” and “Just The Way It Is,” sound bites play of The Alchemist and Bronson joking to others about how they have imported grapes from Estonia, and how Bronson has the number one album in Bulgaria. The album is littered with interludes and sound clips typically of the two laughing over conversations with friends, as well as a Richard Pryor mafia skit, just emphasizing the humor and pageantry of the record.
Lamb Over Rice opens with track “Dmtri” which features a sample of violins and a harmonica that sounds like the opening theme of a New York set mobster film. Bronson quickly cutting in with rhymes comparing himself to Robert De Niro, following Bronson’s appearance in “The Irishman.” “Dmtri” has some of Action’s sharpest lines on the entire record. The song includes Action bragging about his athletic skills, using onions as silencers for a shotgun and talking about how his jewelry box is so cold it could be a habitat for white bears.
“Sven” follows this track and is the darkest cut on the record, with Bronson speaking about death and wealth masking his pain. “Sven” has a dark melodic whistling which sets an eerie tone as the backdrop to Bronson’s lyrics.
A standout track on this record includes “Just The Way It Is,” which is a comedic call to audiences and has Bronson pleading to be a normal person, but the audience only wants to see him “rap and do the running man,” and he just has to get over it because that’s “just the way it is.” Another track that stands out is “Arnold & Danny,” which has The Alchemist and Bronson rapping after one-another with frequent references to food and travel.
Bronson is very much a compilation of his experiences and has eclectic references that call to professional wrestling, food, 80s movies and global experiences. Humor shines from line to line as Action runs through different outlandish scenarios and compares himself to obscure actors and wrestlers. Tracks across the album have hard-hitting snares, soul samples and piano melodies reminiscent of a traditional 1990’s boom-bap New York sound.
Lamb Over Rice is all you could want from an Action Bronson record. It is bursting with confidence and charisma, it has Action’s humorous wordplay and outlandish metaphors, and includes a New York-centric touch that can only be achieved through a collaboration between these two artists. Sitting at only seven songs and 20 minutes, although the EP is satisfying to the palate, it leaves the listener craving more and plays more as an appetizer, rather than a hearty meal.