Serving Home-Cooked Rhymes

Action Bronson goes big, out of the kitchen and into the studio

November 28, 2012

A former cook, Queens rapper Action Bronson has two studio albums due next year.

If Mario Batali and Redman somehow had a love child, it would be Action Bronson.

The 300-pound chef-turned-rapper from Queens is hilarious, vulgar and yet very polite. His foodie background (he attended culinary school and worked at the NYC restaurant his father owns) frequently peppers his flows. But these days, life is filled with different ingredients.

About a year ago, Bronson — whose name, drawn from the ’80s blaxploitation vehicle “Action Jackson” and ’80s vigilante-film star Charles Bronson, hints at the vintage pop-culture sensibilities he weaves through his effervescent rhymes — met L.A. producer and rapper the Alchemist over Twitter. A plan began to take shape — California-style.

“I was pretty much stoned a lot. It put me in a different mind frame,” Bronson says. “Cali’s a different place than being in Queens writing raps.”

The change of scenery (and greenery) inspired verses such as this one from “The Symbol,” off Bronson’s recent mixtape “Rare Chandeliers”: “Whether young or older/ [I’ve] been a musket holder./Just sprinkle cheese on top of me/and let it get crusted over.”

The project shows he’s developed since his previous offerings, including “Blue Chips,” released earlier this year. And with two new studio albums due out next year, Bronson isn’t headed back behind the stove any time soon. Even at home.

“I wake up every day and I don’t have to go to work in the kitchen,” he says. “At the restaurant, all the ingredients are there for you. There’s a big process of being here in your own house, stoned off your face all day long, then having to go to the supermarket. It just doesn’t work.”

Not to worry. Bronson has been known to toss steak-dinner gift certificates from the stage while he raps. And that live-large attitude is setting him up for a big launch.

“I’m going to continue to do what I do,” he says. “If someone wants to press a button and make me a superstar, they could do that right now. All it needs is a co-sign.”

The Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW; Sat., 8 p.m., $15-$18; 202-803-2899. (Shaw)

Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.
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