Action Bronson is a cocaine white, rust-haired, rotund rapper with a nimble, lemon-juice acidic flow so reminiscent of Ghostface Killah a neophyte could be excused for confusing the two—pick them apart on “Meteor Hammer” for a true test of the discerning hip-hop ear. And while that voice may have gotten Action Bronson in the door, his lyrical chops, flip wit and rococo bars hefted his frame firmly into the picture, backed by high-profile collaborations with the likes of Statik Selektah, Harry Fraud and Party Supplies.
Much like Pretty Toney, Bronson is a master of detail. Originally a chef by trade, his well-known, saliva-stimulating, almost pornographic descriptions of food are already the stuff of legend, a timely stylistic choice which has dovetailed nicely with the mainstream rise of cuisine as a cultural art form. He shows the keen eye of a truly fine storyteller, with his three perspective operetta “Hookers at the Point” approaching “Shakey Dog” levels of narrative mastery and intricate, visceral detail. “The Marlboro hat/The Newport windbreakers/Ne-Yo mixtape cover straight from the Aqueduct/Black Acura/Imported straight from Africa/White tigers/Thousand dollar spatula/Panzanella/Salad with the bread,” Bronson rhymes on “Blue Chips,” just one example of his byzantine imagery and acute culinary references.
As if he is in the kitchen, Bronsolino’s masterful selection of beats and versatility allows him to create the best flavors required of any situation. He tends to favor soulful, traditional nineties New York City sounds that cradle his fast delivery in the comfortable womb that countless Gotham greats before him have used.
My French connection told tales of Bronson smoking joints and drinking a carton of apple juice on stage whilst working a crowd highly impressed by his choice to spit over instrumentals with no backing tracks, a high-wire act that puts Bronson’s skills out front and his neck on the line. “He just walked through the crowd like a wrestling champ,” came the reports from Paris.
Bronson will hoist the belt in the shadows of Wrigley Field when he comes to the Cubby Bear, bringing with him mountains of buzz, a handful of expectations and the admiration of the hip-hop tastemakers as one of the hottest acts of the past two years. (B. David Zarley)
May 26 at The Cubby Bear, 1059 West Addison, (773)327-1662, 8pm. Sidewalk Chalk opens. $13-$15.