First off, I’m fine. My family is safe and all outstanding gambling debts have been settled with the appropriate parties. I’m doing this of sound mind and my own free will. I realize I just declared myself competent to stand trial should any homicidal crime spree result from this, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay for fine art.
Adrien Broner has been a punchline in the boxing world for far longer than he hasn’t. Shitting on his pathetic in-ring efforts, cornball interviews, and his on/off relationship with reality has become a cottage industry of sorts. It’s fun, easy, and something the whole family can enjoy together. Much like a child suffering from Progeria though, it gets old fast.
Luckily, Broner has never shied away from failing miserably in non-boxing-related endeavors as well. There have been clothing lines, tech start-ups, and most recently, just flat out asking fans to Cash App him spare change so he can eat. There have also been threats to release a follow-up to his 2017 album WANTED, which, according to SoundScan, sold in excess of 1.2 hundred copies. This past April, he made good on those threats and blessed us with his new album, ABC. You can practically hear the gods of comedy high-fiving.
If you didn’t know Adrien Broner was almost a decade into a career in the music business, you’re not alone. Hell, if you were oblivious to his career as a professional prizefighter that would land you firmly in the majority. Broner’s modus operandi has long been to be juuuuuust shitty enough at something so that he can plausibly lay claim to a vast conspiracy against him when he inevitably fails. It’s a very Trump-ass mentality that yields similar results of nearly jaw-breaking, schadenfreude-induced laughter.
I expect nothing short of the same for ABC but I truly am going into this with an open mind. I admittedly don’t know a ton about rap music but given Broner’s skillset in every other facet of his existence, my ignorance shouldn’t be a problem here. The only rap album I’ve ever actually owned is Be A Man by “Macho Man” Randy Savage, which technically OVERqualifies me to review an Adrien Broner record.
So let’s get into this and see what’s under the hood. Much like the crowd at a Demetrius Andrade fight, we’re not all gonna be here when this is over. Tuck your pants into your socks and stick to the buddy system. Away we go….
SIDE NOTE: I wrote this intro before actually listening to the album so in the event that the next two thousand or so words are just “asdhlkjasdlkjaslkdja…” please note that I either fell asleep on the keyboard or suffered some type of irreversible psychological meltdown. Either way, please tell my family I was indifferent toward them.
TRACK 1) God’s Plan – This is….fine. I mean, it sucks total shit but not in the way I was expecting where it sounds like it was recorded inside of a welding mask. The production is decent and Broner isn’t really doing much of anything, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever seen him fight. All the vocals are drenched in auto-tune, which is probably the most considerate thing Broner has ever done for his fans. The song appears to be about how hard Broner works and how many people have taken advantage of him so it’s his Instagram page set to a mid-2000’s ringtone. If that sounds like something you’d be into, well, thanks for reading this on your Motorola Sidekick.
Sample Lyric – “I always knew I had the heart of a champion/A lot of people told me it could never be done”
This is a cornball line with a dogshit rhyme scheme but the rest of the song has more n-bombs per capita than Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and I’m not about to get my ass #canceled over an Adrien Broner song.
TRACK 2) Something New – This whole album is equally billed to Broner and someone called Cook Laflare, and so far this Cook Laflare dude is doing all of the heavy lifting. Again, slapping his name on the marquee then letting someone else do all the work is wildly consistent with Broner’s existing oeuvre, but as per usual, it’s to the consumer’s benefit. He takes a verse toward the end of the song but it’s so low in the mix and washed in reverb that it just sounds like Theo Huxtable barfing up oatmeal into a washing machine. The beat itself could slide seamlessly into the background of a Geico commercial featuring breakdancing raccoons or some shit and that’s about as close as we’re gonna get to a compliment for this song I think.
Sample Lyric – “Couple months I had to lay low/Dropped a 100 now the case closed”
I’ve personally never been the defendant in multiple concurrent sex crime cases but my gut feeling is that you probably shouldn’t write a song bragging about paying off your accusers. Now granted, Broner has been charged with crimes of all varying shades and degrees so maybe one of those is what he’s talking about here. But if you’re paying a hundred thousand dollars to settle the case of The Clogged Popeye’s Toilet, that’s probably way more embarrassing than admitting you got popped for getting handsy with a mall cop or whatever. Regardless, this is total ass.
TRACK 3) Designer Talk – If you’ve ever wondered what the music that plays during the underwater levels in Super Mario Brothers 3 would sound like with two dipshits reading off their shopping list over it, well, today’s your lucky day. This song starts with Cook Laflare doing one of those intros that’s like “Ah…uh-huh…know what I’m sayin” which, I must confess that no, I do not, as of yet, know what you’re saying. Then they start going “ABC, Cook, AB” which if you’ve been following along, is the name of the album that’s currently playing followed by the artists featured therein. And as we all know, nothing inspires confidence in your listener more than going painstakingly out of your way to remind them who they’re listening to three songs into your record.
Most of this song is just naming off clothing and jewelry brands and it’s about as interesting as that sounds. If you’re not near a set of speakers right now but want to replicate the experience of listening to this song, just walk through the mall and name off all the stores your mom shops at as you pass them. It’s very exciting stuff.
Sample Lyric – “My bitch like designer shit/Only rock designer kicks/On her shirt an elephant/Chanel purse costs 50 cents”
I’m pretty sure I know what a bitch is, and I feel confident that “kicks” is about shoes but after that, I’m more lost than Broner’s Dad in the vegetable aisle. If having an elephant on your shirt is all of a sudden cool or something then a bunch of bullies in my 3rd-grade class owe a huge apology to me and the sweater my grandma knitted me for school pictures that year. In regards to the Chanel purse in question costing fifty cents, I assume that’s a reference to the rapper of the same name, though if you told me Broner bought his girlfriend a handbag that cost less than a postage stamp I would have no reason to doubt you.
TRACK 4) Litty – Nope. Fuck this. I’m not listening to a song called Litty. Get lost.
Sample Lyric – Shut up. Not happening.
TRACK 5) Spoil Ya – I cannot stress enough to you how little Adrien Broner appears on the Adrien Broner album ABC. If this were a Cook Laflare solo album with a “sometimes featuring Adrien Broner” tag on it, that would still be a gross misrepresentation of his contribution to this mess. He does a little mushmouth spoken word intro thing here and then apparently just shuts his mic off and enjoys a turkey sub while Cook Laflare sings the rest of the song in a weird Dracula voice. It’s ostensibly a love ballad I guess, though I’m not sure how many women are going to be won over by two idiots setting the land speed record for most “bitches” per second over what barely qualifies as elevator music. It sucks and I don’t like it and I can’t imagine you will either. Put that quote on the billboard.
Sample Lyric – “I would never embarrass you ever/I would spoil you forever and ever”
In a lifetime of empty promises and false declarations, none may ring more hollow than Broner’s claim here to shield his lady from embarrassment. Adrien Broner couldn’t take a nap without mortifying himself and he has a fun little habit of dragging anyone in his orbit down to clown town with him. You wanna hang out with Broner, fine, that’s your deal, but you’re gonna end up being humiliated in ways you didn’t think possible. Like winding up in one of his songs. Just imagine the shame.
TRACK 6) Problem – Holy shit, I just realized this record is only a six-song EP and I’m having a god damn double rainbow moment about it. (NOTE: It may actually be a full length but these are the only six songs on Spotify and I refuse to research this any further because my mouth tastes like pennies and I’m starting to smell burnt toast.) This song – the last one, halle-fucking-lujah – starts off with a mention of the “808 Mafia” which, as far as rap crew names go, is about as frightening as Peter McNeely’s “Cocoon of Horror.” This song features the most Broner per capita of any song on this record, and that’s either a bad thing or a terrible thing, depending on how you feel about Adrien Broner’s rapping skills. My guess is “not great.” He’s listing off all the problems he has in his life but you know it’s bullshit because an actual song about everything that’s gone wrong in Adrien Broner’s life would be twelve hours long. As he gets more fired up in this song he starts adopting a gruff tone that sounds like Dave Chappelle’s Lil’ Jon impression. I’m not kidding. It sounds like Harvey Fierstein with strep throat. It’s very off-putting. Mostly though, it sounds like Adrien Broner, which is really the problem with this whole record.
Sample Lyric – “At 25 I bought a Maybach/I’m really tryin’ to be rich forever”
I think it’s clear at this point that the lofty monetary aspirations Broner set for himself early in his career will likely not be met. Forget the billions be claimed to be about. The millions are probably a pipe dream at this point too. I suppose six figures is possible but only if collecting permanent disability becomes his full-time job in the event that he ever attempts to fight again. Simply avoiding bankruptcy should be his short-term financial goal and I have zero confidence he’ll achieve it. This record certainly won’t help.
Bottom Line – This record is bad but not embarrassingly so. It sucks but could pass for background music at a strip club or a really boring party. Broner barely appears on it but the parts where he does are easily the weakest. If you’re a fan of Broner’s whole thing this may appeal to you but likely only because your brain is irreparably damaged. It’s more or less in line with Broner’s entire body of work: minimal effort with even less payoff. Instead of listening to this record, we should all focus our efforts on deploying Seal Team Six to extract Cook Laflame from the bunker where Broner is clearly holding him against his will.
Overall I award this record Two Broners falling off a skateboard out of a possible ten