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A raunchy,cylinder-shaped ginger of Eastern European ancestry might not be the first dude you'd peg for rap stardom, but that's exactly the mantle Action Bronson ison the verge of possessing. Over the last two years, the 28-year old Queens native hasbecome one of hip-hop's most charismatic and colorful new characters, thanks to his wickedsense of
humor, a buffet of impressive releases and the rare knack for updatingcherished East Coast aesthetics into indisputably modern music.
Last year, TheNew York Times hailed Bronson as “one of the most promising prospects in New York hip-hop.” That formidable potential is now being realized. When Bronson gleefully tossed slabs of meat from Peter Luger’s famed steakhouse into awild-ass crowdat the Music Hall of Williamsburg, the mosh pit of skaters, knuckleheads, rappurists and young women was evidence of his ever-widening appeal.
Born AriyanArslani, Bronson grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, the son of an Albanian immigrant father and a Jewish mother from Brooklyn. He was an only child, butthepopulation of the two-bedroom apartment swelled to as many as 13 inhabitants due tocousins, aunts, uncles and refuges from ethnic strife in Kosovo.
It was in the family restaurant that Bronson developed his enduring fascination with quality eating. After studying in the Art Institute of New York’s culinary program, he took jobs ranging from busboy to sous chef. Consequently, songs in his discography often read like menu items: “Roasted Bone Marrow,” “Pouches of Tuna,” “Jerk Chicken,”“Ceviche.”
Rolling Stone, appreciating the theme, described Bronson’s music as “the ultimate incomfort food, with a contemporary twist.”
While Bronson was a ravenous musical connoisseur who grew up admiring artists likeKool G. Rap, Cam’ron and Mobb Deep, he never contemplated rapping himself. Butafew years back, he penned a satirical song over a Southern beat CD and theresults were improbably impressive. With an oversized personality, intricate word play and the cagy
charm of an outer-borough striver, he was a natural. And after a broken legforced himout of the kitchen, Bronson began writing seriously. In 2007, joined with Mayhem Lauren and Jay Steele to release the Last of a Dyin’ Breed: Volume 1 mixtape under the collective name “The Outdoorsmen.”
Bronson’sinsistent delivery and penchant for flamboyant phraseology initially drew some comparisons to Ghostface, but he has long since matured beyond such superficialities.In 2011 alone, he released Bon Appetit….Bitch!, The Program EP, Dr. Lecter and Well Done. 2012 introduced collaborations with artists like Earl Sweatshirt, Riff Raff and Spa ceGhostPurp, as well as Blue Chips, the brilliant street album produced by Party Supplies. In awarding the effort a lofty 8.1, Pitchfork called Bronson “one ofthe mosthilarious and creative writers in rap” who savagely captured the essence of NewYork’sseedy soul: “It is what a Weegee photograph would look like now.”
In August of 2012, Bronson signed with Vice/Warner Bros Records. With the leading youth media company's multi-platform power now backing him, forthcoming projects like Rare Chandeliers with Alchemist, Saab Story with Harry Fraud and BlueChips 2 willfind countless new listeners. His debut LP on Vice/Warner Bros. Music is scheduled for
2013. For Action Bronson, this accelerating rise to greatness may just persuade him to put off “laying back, eating poutine” for a little while longer.