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We’ve reached a point in hip-hop where consumers can’t trust what the major labels are selling them, making it harder and harder for buyers to throw down their hard-earned cash for music. With the indie scene moving from 12″ vinyl to the blogs over the last five years, much of the best new music is free, a price that pretty much any hip-hop fan can get behind. Case in point is Action Bronson and Alchemist’s Rare Chandeliers LP, something that could have easily moved a steady amount of units if pressed up, but was instead given away free.

Both Al and Action are some of the most prolific artists in underground hip-hop at the moment, with no shortage of tracks in the vaults just waiting to be released, among multiple album releases in the last year or so. Rare Chandeliers is clearly the result of the duo sharing lots of drugs, and then throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks, so like Russian Roulette before it, this album has sort of a “one-take” quality to it. Almost a spiritual successor to Alchemist and Curren$y’s Covert Coup, it really shows how effortlessly these two produce quality music, even when not taking it too seriously.

The tone of the album balances from disturbingly off-kilter to stoned-hilarious, such as on the title track, “Rare Chandeliers”, which finds Al cutting up samples from The Antique Roadshow, while Action threatens to “stick knives where you poop.” While Al is known for his ridiculous production skills, we do find him pairing things down a bit on tracks like “The Symbol” and “Eggs On The Third Floor”, yet his knack for selecting the right loops, coupled with Action’s brand of fine-art rap makes it stick. As expected, we do find some brilliant moments in production here, such as on “Randy The Musical”, which plays sort of like a three-part act, or “The Symbol”, a basement beat that might make a ’96 era Jeru The Damaja jealous.

Action Bronson displays lyrical brilliance on tracks like “Mike Vick”, which pretty much defines his style, which trades usual rapper braggadocio or punchlines for his own brand of super-visual, abstract rhymes. The guests come through to help round things out as well, such as Schoolboy Q, who delivers one of his best performances in recent memory on “Demolition Man”. Also notable is Evidence on “Bitch I Deserve You” and Sean Price on “Blood of The Goat”.

In truth, the whole album plays solidly throughout, even if this seems like the two are screwing around half-of-the-time. It’s a more focused release than Al’s Russian Roulette, but not quite as consistant as Action’s Dr. Lecter. While this free album gives us a taste of what they are capable of, we can only imagine what a full-fledged studio LP might produce. Who knows, it might actually be worth paying for.

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12 Responses to "Action Bronson + Alchemist – “Rare Chandeliers” – @@@@ (Review)"
  • Dayz says:

    Action does it again! I’ve bumped this straight through about 10x now and it keeps sounding better. The review is spot on and it does leave me jonesin’ for them to make a “true” LP that they really focused their attention to. But gotta say these two horsin’ around make better music than 95% of these whack rappers and producers ever could.

  • Model Citizen says:

    @sefu sorry, I don’t see how Ghostface fathered Bronson’s style. They have similar voices, lots of charisma and great taste in beats, but that’s where the similarities end. Their flows aren’t very similar at all, Bronson is way more technical. Bronson has said that his biggest influences are G Rap and Cam’ron and I see them in his style more than Ghostface. Ghost is one of my favorite emcees of all time, but in all honesty I am more interested in new Action Bronson music than new Ghostface music. Just my opinion.

  • Dayz says:

    @Model Citizen, on the other rap sites out there in cyberspace there is a lot of hate on Action. They are stuck on the similarity of his and Ghost’s voices but not only that, they say this LP is a wanna be 90′s LP! They say these two are stuck in the golden era and are not innovative and are just recycling old NYC records!?! WTF!?! GTFOH with that talk! I cannot understand these fools that like to discuss things they are so ignorant of. They claim all ALC does is find a 3 second sample, loop it and call it a beat!?! AGAIN WTF!?! I really gotta say from the comments I read on the internet from so-called Hip Hop fans I would hate to meet 95% of them and if I did I would spit in their faces! Ignorance and just plain stupidity run rampant amongst the fans of this art… Well really it’s the Rap/Hip Pop/Radio/Gangsta fans, artists and culture, which is not the Hip Hop culture I know and love. It is truly disgusting and I want no parts of the music and especially the fans! Can we seriously have a Civil War so to speak and draw the line in the sand and exile/excommunicate all these fakes from our culture already!?! Hip Hop vs. Hip Pop/Gangsta/Radio/rap/Bullsh!t!!! Sorry I’ll get off my high horse now but I really am getting disgusted with all this nonsense!

  • Model Citizen says:

    @Dayz, I only frequent a few hip hop related sights so I guess I’m unaware of the backlash against Bronson. This LP could not have been created in the 90′s, yeah it’s rooted in the 90′s sound (which really just means unbastardized hip hop)but if you play this and a Gang Starr record back to back you’re not going to confuse the two for coming out the same year. To me hip hop is at the point where rock music is. There are countless sub genres of rock music and their sounds very to the point where you could like one style and hate another. If somebody is into the Doors I’m not going to assume that they have an appreciation for Slayer too. I think calling yourself a fan of “hip hop” is a pretty vague description of a person’s taste. If a random person tells me they listen to hip hop I don’t assume that they’re familiar with Rakim. In the 90′s, that wasn’t the case, things hadn’t gone so many different directions. I don’t consider people who listen to Gucci Mane fans of the same kind of music I listen too, we don’t have anything in common (at least in terms of musical taste) and I pretty much ignore them and their music. Most people listen to shitty music, hip hop or otherwise, and just don’t care that much about it. That being said, it’s annoying as hell when they try to speak on shit that they know absolutely nothing about.

  • arkitekt says:

    Damn Alchemist and Action killing it.

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