Lyricism, Delivery & Authenticity
Bitch, I Deserve You
Modern Day Revelations
We never have to ask whether or not Action is speaking from experience, and we don't question his authenticity, because there's no façade here. His scenarios are either hyperrealistic or so outlandish that we’d never assume them to be true, like when he claims to have “made 872 million off molasses” in the intro to Rare Chandeliers' ‘Bitch, I Deserve You.’ On 'Modern Day Revelations,' he hesitates after the line “I’m on the coast with the cargo” – which leads us to assume he’s involved in drug smuggling through ports. But he adds “shorts” to the line after the moment's hesitation, giving us a glimpse of the real Bronson, a guy who may love "doing drugs" but isn’t involved in trafficking them.
Not only is Action a dope lyricist and storyteller, he also has an ear for beats, having worked with some of the most creative producers currently working in the game, among them Statik Selektah, Harry Fraud, Party Supplies and The Alchemist.
View evidence of his skill on the mic (and off the cuff) below. Authentic freestyles are rare these days.
In the past two years, Action has released three free albums, an EP and two mixtapes, and has appeared as a guest on more than thirty other tracks.
Those familiar with Bronson’s entire catalogue know that he can’t be completely defined according to March 2011's Blue Chips mixtape with Party Supplies. Although that project was definitive, there are plenty of gems in his previous three releases, including the initial Bon Appetit ..… Bitch!!!!! mixtape that foreshadowed what was to come on Dr. Lecter (with Tommy Mas) and Well-Done (with Statik Selektah). In it’s consistent darkness, the most recent Rare Chandeliers (with The Alchemist) was a departure in tone from his other material, but as prolific as Bronson is, he’ll be as sure to experiment as he is to return to form.
In 2013, we can expect a sequel to the Blue Chips, for which 17 tracks are allegedly finalized, minus guest appearances. There's also the long-awaited project with Harry Fraud called Saab Stories, another with Tommy Mas called Mr. Wonderful and an as-yet untitled debut LP on Vice/Warner Bros. Stay tuned.
Listen and download Bronson's Blue Chips and Rare Chandeliers projects below:
Networking & Collaborations
At this point, Bronson is renowned for the intimacy, interactivity and high energy of his live shows. He's known to toss dime bags of chronic into the crowd, as well as pairs of kicks and expensive dinner giveaways from gourmet restaurants. He has a habit of hoisting women over his shoulders and continuing to rap while lumbering around the stage with them. More often than not he'll hop into the crowd at some point and rap on the people's level. And he doesn't even need a beat - he'll go a capella anytime, anywhere. You may even catch him in the venue parking lot with a wireless mic after the show, rapping for those who couldn't make it inside.
With such a captivating stage presence this early on, he's a shoe-in for larger crowds. And they will come.
Peep evidence of Action's live game below:
Bronson's been developing a cult following since he dropped his Bon Appetit ..… Bitch!!!!! mixtape in early 2011. After he started performing regularly, he gradually built a reputation for being unpretentious, uninhibited and hilarious, mingling with fans both during and after shows and showing constant love and appreciation for the support.
His online presence has helped him connect with his fan-base as well. He currently has more than 95,000 followers on Twitter, a tool he constantly uses to vent his frustations, wax philosophic and interact with his audience, for better or worse. His Facebook "likes" stand at nearly 59,000, and these numbers only continue to grow.
As you can see in the gallery above, there's quite a bit of fan art circulating online as well - it's not everyone that gets a graffiti mural painted in their likeness. Having already established such a strong following, there's no telling how many will be converted once Action Bronson becomes a household name.
Case & Point: On December 1st of last year, during the Washington, DC leg of his Rare Chandeliers mini tour, Bronson invited a paraplegic fan onstage and hoisted him on his shoulders during a verse. It's moments like this that separate him from most of his peers:
Not Enough Words
Bronson may come across as a lowlife to the untrained ear, but if you really pay attention, under the crudeness you'll find his taste is as refined as they come. He exhales culture and debauchery in the same breath, effortlessly mincing highbrow and lowbrow.
When Action's in character, he doesn't try to play the hero - if anything, he's an antihero. He’s belligerent, boorish and uncompromising, but he delivers the persona in such a way that we still root for him. He doesn't expect everyone to appreciate every line he spits. As creative and colourful as the majority of his verses are, there are moments that undoubtedly make some cringe or take offense. Apologies for his style are about as likely as him putting down his signature G-Pen, though.
Action's greatest strength may be that he doesn't take himself too seriously. He's passionate and ambitious when it comes to his newfound craft, but he's well aware of the lines between escapism, wishful thinking and reality, which seems to be an incresingly rare characteristic of rappers these days.
We'll leave you with a recent Scion AV Open Mic interview and allow Bronsolinio the last word on all this:
Bonus: Hello, Haters
HNHH's On The Come-Up profiles rising rappers and producers that show strong promise but haven't necessarily seen much shine on the site. This could range from those deep underground to artists on the cusp of the mainstream that we've overlooked. You'll find their defining characteristics broken down by category.
For those of you still unfamiliar, meet Action Bronson, government name Arian Asllani, a 29-year-old chef-turned-rapper of Albanian descent. The 5’8, 300lb native of Flushing, Queens, New York City is a father of two, a friend of Saved by the Bell’s Mr. Belding and a former chef for the New York Mets. Having enlisted in the rap game not three years ago after an injury in the kitchen, he’s one of the most intriguing rappers to emerge on the scene in quite some time, and is becoming an increasingly beloved presence in hip-hop.
After a slew of independent releases backed by labels such as Fool’s
Gold and Fine Fabric Delegates, Bronson recently signed a deal with Vice
Records (a Warner Brothers imprint that also backs the Black Lips and Snoop
Lion), coming under Paul Rosenburg’s Goliath Artists management, home to
Eminem, Cypress Hill and The Alchemist.
Read on for a breakdown of what Action's doing right.