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Action Bronson, Ab Soul, Danny Brown At Best Buy, Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, Reviewed






It is 11pm on a Wednesday night at Best Buy and while it doesn’t say “Sold Out” for  the third annual Peter Palooza, I have never seen the club busier. Peter Palooza is Hut 97’s Sunday night new rap DJ Peter Rosenberg  (he is the guy who called Nicki’s song “not real hip hop” where she walked out of Summer Jam in 2012) and the birthday celebration is his, but the people want Action Bronson.

The new first tier rappers have spoken and they are here, if these guys haven’t broken mainstream the biggest names have sure broken rap: Ab Soul, Danny Brown, Schooboy Q (who I missed) and Action Bronson -a true hero in his hometown, the same as my hometown, Queens.

But before we get there, there is 90 minutes of tedium. Two DJs and a computer with newcomers Chris Rivers and Retch. performing short sets and the great Joell Ortiz coming out for 90 seconds. Between the longer sets, Vic Mensa rapped his Chance The Rapper, track “I Feel That” very well though the audience weren’t buying it , G. Easy who must have either a lot of money or a big label behind him, and one good line, “I’m fucking your girlfriend, there’s nothing you can do about”, rapped a son,. A Trak pops in, the combination being Danny and Fool’s Gold Record Label.

The two opening acts weren’t quite good enough, Chris Rivers is Big Pun’s son and so gets the benefit of the doubt and “Alright, Here we Go” isn’t bad, Retch may have talent but he seemed distracted during his set and with this a big break for the XXL minor leaguer he sure shouldn’t have,  though “Short Sermon” is big time and he nails it dead.

The evening proper began with former Black Hippie Ab Soul, who dropped the excellent These Days in late June and who I missed at Webster Hall on 4 Knots Saturday a coupla weeks ago and who I didn’t even know was playing Wednesday night, and he was a little disappointing. It is hard to go wrong when you’re opening with “Dub Sac” but Ab Soul (as in “Absolutely”) is kinda arty, he raps well (with help but…) but he comes across as a little laid back and the audience aren’t really buying it which kinda surprised me. After hearing the newbie and surely by the time he reaches “The Tree Of Life” he has kinda sold me though not the audience. Rapping over a DJ’s track (like everybody else), he wanders back and forth and it is oddly disheartening, how can you go wrong with songs as great as “Terrorist Threats” with the first rate rhyme “Wish I could see out of Selassie’ eye maybe my sovereignty would still be mine”. You can just not have the energy you need.

I prefer Detroit’s finest Danny Brown any way. When Tyler The Creator failed to follow up on “Goblin” a coupla years ago the question was, who is gonna steal the crown as the only rapper who matters. Kendrick Lamar (another member of Black Hippies) seemed to be the obvious choice but, for me at least, a terrible opening slot for Kanye West seemed to put an end to that. Ab Soul? Chance The Rapper? My money was on Danny Brown, who has released two excellent albums, and who had all the energy and flair Ab Soul didn’t have in his set. Skinny, leather jeans, spindly legs, Danny was excellent, moving effortlessly through a 30 minute of high octane tracks and singalongs to major hits “Kush Coma”, “Blunt After Blunt” and new song “Smokin And Drinkin”. The set went down pretty good but as soon as Danny left the stage the calls started again:


If you follow hip hop in New York you’ll know Action Bronson, the way overweight, red bearded chef and rapper signed to Atlantic along with DJ Alchemist, is Queens favorite son. His voice is raspy with flow to kill for and world class rhymes from Kissena Boulevard to Queensboro Plaza and his presence is strange, he needs to feel the moment and stops a song till the mood hits him. Bronson wandered off the stage and into the audience where the man behind the brilliant “Pepe Lopez” -which samples “Tequila” to great effect and “The Rockers” with the phenom hook “Hit you with the drop kick”, disappeared appeared among us, a vice amongst us.

Speaking of killer hooks,   “Strictly 4 My Jeeps”, which I missed last year, has two and Bronson nailed both of them, “Slow Down Baby” becomes a war cry and “I’m a hero in my hometown baby” a self fulfilling prophecy. There is something very one of the people about Bronson, “I don’t really give a fuck, all I want to do is fuck shit up” he raps a song later and the sense of a new Great White Hope is undeniable.  “I don’t wanna leave you lonely, you motherfuckers better change my mind ” he raps over an electric guitar. Yep, just wait till the first album drops.

Grade: B+



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