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A raunchy, cylinder-shaped gingerof 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, The New York Timeshailed Bronson as “one of the most promising prospects
in New York hip-hop.” That formidable potential is now being realized. WhenBronson
gleefully tossed slabs of meat from Peter Luger’s famed steakhouse into awild-ass crowd
at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, the mosh pit of skaters, knuckleheads, rappurists and
young women was evidence of his ever-widening appeal.
Born Ariyan Arslani, Bronson grewup in Forest Hills, Queens, the son of an Albanian
immigrant father and a Jewish mother from Brooklyn. He was an only child, butthe
population of the two-bedroom apartment swelled to as many as 13 inhabitantsdue to
cousins, aunts, uncles and refuges from ethnic strife in Kosovo.
It was in the family restaurantthat Bronson developed his enduring fascination with
quality eating. After studying in the Art Institute of New York’s culinaryprogram, he took
jobs ranging from busboy to sous chef. Consequently, songs in his discographyoften read
like menu items: “Roasted Bone Marrow,” “Pouches of Tuna,” “Jerk Chicken,”“Ceviche.”
Rolling Stone, appreciating the theme, described Bronson’s music as “theultimate in
comfort food, with a contemporary twist.”
While Bronson was a ravenousmusical connoisseur who grew up admiring artists like
Kool G. Rap, Cam’ron and Mobb Deep, he never contemplated rapping himself. Buta
few years back, he penned a satirical song over a Southern beat CD and theresults were
improbably impressive. With an oversized personality, intricate wordplay andthe cagy
charm of an outer-borough striver, he was a natural. And after a broken legforced him
out of the kitchen, Bronson began writing seriously. In 2007, joined withMayhem Lauren
and Jay Steele to release the Last of a Dyin’ Breed: Volume 1 mixtape under thecollective
name “The Outdoorsmen.”
Bronson’s insistent delivery andpenchant for flamboyant phraseology initially drew some comparisons toGhostface, but he has long since matured beyond such superficialities.
In 2011 alone, he released Bon Appetit….Bitch!, The Program EP, Dr. Lecter andWell
Done. 2012 introduced collaborations with artists like EarlSweatshirt, Riff Raff and
SpaceGhostPurp, as well as Blue Chips, the brilliant street album produced byParty
Supplies. In awarding the effort a lofty 8.1, Pitchfork called Bronson “one ofthe most
hilarious and creative writers in rap” who savagely captured the essence of NewYork’s
seedy soul: “It is what a Weegee photograph would look like now.”
In August of 2012, Bronson signedwith Vice/Warner Bros Records. With the leading
youth media company's multi-platform power now backing him, forthcomingprojects
like Rare Chandeliers with Alchemist, Saab Story with Harry Fraud and BlueChips 2 will
find countless new listeners. His debut LP on Vice/Warner Bros. Music is scheduledfor
2013. For Action Bronson, this accelerating rise to greatness may just persuadehim to put
off “laying back, eating poutine” for a little while longer.