I’ve already discussed my love for Ghostface Killah on this website, so it’s only natural that I fell for Action Bronson when I heard him for the first time, guesting on A$AP Rocky’s gang track “1 Train.” To say he resembles Ghostface would be a gross understatement, the two are essentially identical twins born 11 years apart. Between the lyrical similarities and a voice and delivery that are easily interchangeable, Action Bronson, who also cites Kool G Rap as one of his favorite rappers, seems destined for greatness in the rap scene.
However, he hasn’t achieved it yet. Originally a flambé chef of high renown in New York City, the former Arian Asllani transitioned into a rap career around the beginning of the decade and has averaged two mixtapes a year since then. While originally staying under the radar, Bronson blew up in 2012: his collaboration with The Alchemist (Anger Management-era Eminem’s DJ) Rare Chandeliers featured appearances from Schoolboy Q and Styles P and Bronson himself guested on “1 Train” and Inspectah Deck’s “It’s Raw.” His marketing campaign, which includes a Youtube cooking show series “Action in the Kitchen,” only added to his appeal. After all, how can you go wrong with a man who combines GFK and Raekwon?
Bronson’s persona, equal parts Mafioso and cocinero, is surprisingly appealing; but it’s his wordplay that really sells him. A unique mixture of pop culture references (You’re staying broke like Maury with the hip), obtuse phrases (Drinking Henny like I’m Kenny Lofton) and food talk that finds a way to sound illegal (the lamb was laced with fennel), the lyrics are largely free-associative with a flow that makes his finely-crafted verses sound effortless. This is the biggest difference between him and Ghostface Killah: where Ghostface sounds constantly hyped on cocaine, Action Bronson is perpetually fresh off of a bong hit- slowly winding his way through his verses that often go nowhere and incorporate jokes that only he can understand yet have everyone laughing because his delivery sells them. Action Bronson calls himself the vigilante of rap (Rare Chandeliers even has a cover of him with a double barrel shotgun) and the way he has been effecting the game away from the ears of the mainstream seem to imply that one day he will become the hero that rap music deserves.