Review: Action Bronson, ‘Cocodrillo Turbo’

The Queens heavyweight returns with another action-packed project, leaving listeners with an adrenaline rushing journey into the mind of a maniac.

It’s no doubt that Action Bronson is one of the most interesting rappers to spawn from the last decade. His electrifying, yet somewhat enigmatic style has won over the hearts of many in the underground circuit and even mainstream television. However, when the Queen native locks in for another project, listeners never know what to expect from the machismo-fashioned rapper.

Cocodrillo Turbo taps in to both sides of Bronson as an individual, being able to evolve as a high-classed art junkie while keeping his ear to the streets at all times.

Photography: Steven Ferdman

The maniacally charismatic emcee from Queens refuses to be placed in a box when it comes to his art. Like the baklava he proudly reps as his nickname, there are many layers to Bronson’s character – and he makes sure to include each version on his latest offering. For example, the lead single “Subzero” exhibits a more focused Bronson zoning in on each verse; meanwhile the Conway-assisted cut “Tongpo” shows Bronson letting loose and spitting the humorous one-liners he’s best known for.

Bronson’s pen has sharpened more since his last offering in 2020, Only For Dolphins. The eclectic art style for the cover is said to represent the overall atmosphere of his albums. While Bronson is well known for his machismo approach blended with his raspy delivery, Cocodrillo Turbo takes this base energy and amplifies it tremendously. The intro to “Jaws” reflects this notion as sees the adrenaline-filled aura spill into the lyrics with the opening line (“Goat blood dripping from my chin, an easy kill / My fuckin’ jaw is made of steel”).

The carnivorous lyricism from Bronson is an immediate takeaway, but as one spends more time with the album and digesting each track, the more apparent Bronson’s detailed song structure becomes. In a culture that is run on the love for three verses and a hook on every song, a record like Cocodrillo Turbo is a breath of fresh air as Bronson’s natural method of recording shows a heavy appreciation for musicality and orchestration. Simple things like the lengthy outro on “Storm Of The Century” or the ambitious build up on “Subzero” set the stage perfectly for Bronson to display his artistic talents beyond lyricism.

The production roster remains tight, only featuring close collaborators behind the boards. Underground heavyweights, Alchemist and Daringer both handle the project’s production, trading beats back and forth throughout the album. Being that both beatsmiths retain a close relationship with Bronson, the high level of trust allows for Bronson to expand his palette, artistically, while maintaining an appropriate foundation. For example, Bronson pumped a new sense of life into the project by embracing the animalistic nature of the concept. The sporadic screaming of wildlife over the dusty drums proved to be an exhilarating experience that keeps the listener on edge as the project transitions into each track.

While roaring lions and crocodile grunts isn’t typically the norm in hip-hop, the outlandishness of each idea is standard behavior from Action Bronson. The machismo emcee is known for meshing his eccentric ideologies with his bizarre sense of humor, resulting in an unconventional style that works for no one else but Bronson himself. Action Bronson is the only person who can get away with saying (“They say Bronson disappeared like the AIDS from Magic Johnson’s dick”) and (“My soul descendants from the heavens / And I’m pretty sure I’ve been here before ’cause I can feel it”) on the same record and make it seem normal.

As concise as the album is, Cocodrillo Turbo makes a few unnecessary stops before fully concluding the journey. “Jaws” and “Ninety One” feel like they were left behind as the track length for both songs was cut short; even then, “Jaws” is a tough tune to catch wind of, taking more time than most to establish itself on the track list individually. “Estaciones” makes for a great album cut with a solid feature from Hologram, but a minor interlude of Action cutting off Holo’s opening lines disrupts the flow a bit. Though its flaws seem deeper than what they are, there’s no doubt that most of these imperfections were intentional as Bronson maintains a tight composure with his records, letting no sign of mediocracy fly by unattended.

Cocodrillo Turbo speaks to the notion that art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. Nothing about this record is safe for the average listener, but those who understand Action Bronson as an artist recognize the passion and value drawn from Bronson’s canvas.

8 / 10

Best tracks: “Jaguar”, “Zambezi”, “Subzero”, “Turkish”, “Storm of the Century”