The kid got pizzazz.
Action Bronson x Pound
His bright red beard blows in the draft, his piercing blue eyes light up the room and his pudgy round legs stick out of his shorts- in the middle of a Canadian winter mind you; everybody's favourite foodie rapper, Action Bronson, is in the building. Two albums and four mixtapes deep in the game in the last year and a half alone, like the Albanian mob, Bronsellini doesn't play. Lighting a spliff the size of a carrot stick, Action Bronson sat with Pound and discussed straight cheffin', sticking to tradition, Queens and panty droppin'.
Words and Interview by: Olivia Arezes
His bright red beard blows in the draft, his piercing blue eyes light up the room and his pudgy round legs stick out of his shorts- in the middle of a Canadian winter mind you;
Pound: Are there any similarities between rapping and cooking?
Action Bronson: Of course, they’re both very high skilled art forms and you gotta be very very skilled to do both well.
Pound: Do you have a specialty dish or cuisine?
Action Bronson: I’m like a jack of all trades, I know how to cook every single thing that there is ‘cause I’m in the kitchen with Mexicans, Dominicans, Albanians, learning from my grandparents and shit. I like Mediterranean food in general.
Pound: What makes the panties drop quicker? The fact that you’re a great cook or the fact that you’re a great rapper?
Action Bronson: Nahhhh, the rap ain’t shit, it’s all about the cooking. [Laughs] But only special people get that, I don’t cook for everybody.
Pound: I want to talk about your “Brunch” video a little bit…
Action Bronson: Oh mannn…
Pound: Was that inspired by someone special?
Action Bronson: No it wasn’t! It was just acting. I’m trying to be an actor, I’m trying to land this role man.
Pound: It wasn’t method acting?
Action Bronson: Nah it wasn’t method acting, I’m trying to land this role, I’m trying to land roles in the future, I’m trying to get into acting now [smirks and rolls his eyes sarcastically]. Imagine?! Out of nowhere I’m just gunna start acting. Why not right? Like trying to do something as crazy as can be. My whole thing was I wanted that boat scene to be the whole video. The boat was the key to me, as long as they saw me on screen driving the boat with the glasses and my shirt open, then I don’t give a shit [laughs].”
Pound: When you pull over and harrass your ex's corpse, was that bit off the top?
Action Bronson: Yeah, that was off the top. I freestyled that shit! I killed it! [Laughs] Yeah it’s weird, it’s embarrassing, I’m never awkward though.
Pound: I think it’s kind of cool that you’re a new rapper but you’re not buying into this whole new school pretty boy, swag, dressing in skin tight jeans and all that shit…
Action Bronson: Welllll, I wouldn’t be able to fit into skin tight jeans. I have a new word, it’s not even about swag, it’s about pizzazz. You know, it’s like old shit, it’s mad old timey, like when your grandmother- she had pizzazz you know?
Pound: So what’s something else that has pizzazz?
Action Bronson: I got pizzazz, the kid got pizzazz! No swag, it’s pizzazz. I’m not even mad at “swag” it’s just funny to me that that’s like a word that’s being used heavily, you know every era has it’s words and stuff like that so whatever. But I’m definitely different from everybody else because I have that old soul, it’s not like I’m re-inventing the wheel here, I’m modernizing something that I grew up on. Everybody else is trying to go so left-field with it and I just stand out because I’m the only one still--- or one of the only ones still sticking to tradition.
Pound: Yeah I read that you stopped listening to rap after the ’90s, why is that?
Action Bronson: It’s not that I’m only listening to ’90s rap, it’s that I’m just listening to classic shit that I grew up on, like, they had some good stuff in the 2000s also, I’m just not listening to new era, new age rap. Everything that’s being played on the radio I could do without, so… I don’t even like listening to hip-hop honestly, I don’t even like listening to rap anymore, I just listen to the things that are classic and I listen to Spanish music and shit.
Pound: Oh yeah, what kind of Spanish music?
Action Bronson: You know, Salsa, everything... Bachata, everything... My favourite Salsa artist, I would have to go with El Gran Combo, el Puerto Rico! But you know, I love Eddie Palmieri, I love Willy Colon, Hector Lavoe, ummm shit, Frankie Ruiz, these are the people I listen to every day. I've had many Spanish girlfriends.
Pound: So, what’s your fascination with mobsters, your name being a mix of Action Jackson and Charles Bronson…
Action Bronson: [Laughs] It’s interesting and stuff but that’s not really my whole shtick. I don’t consider myself a mobster or a gangster at all, that’s just not me. I’m not Italian, I don’t know that life, I mean I know a lot of friends that got into that life but I’m Albanian so we don’t even joke about what we do, we just do it.
Pound: Well the Albanian mob is pretty powerful…
Action Bronson: Pretty much if you have hands and you have a face, then it wasn’t us.
Pound: So did you grow up around any of that?
Action Bronson: I mean I grew up in Flushing, Queens, same place 27 years, there’s everything around here: Chinese mafia, Indian mafia, Jewish mob, Korean, everybody. Everyone has their own cliques, In Flushing everyone’s gangster. Everyone’s thugged out, even the Chinese ladies in the restaurant, they’ll straight up hack you up with a cleaver.
Pound: So when you were coming up with a name for yourself, were there any other possible combinations, like two other guys mixed? Like, Dirty Chan?
Action Bronson: [Laughs] Nah, honestly, there wasn’t. I didn’t put names in a hat and choose, it just kind of happened. I was already calling myself Action through graffiti, I just happened to add on the Bronson ‘cause I thought it sounded cool, and that’s it. I figured I needed two names instead of one, everyone just has one name, I’m a two name type of guy.
Pound: You say you’re a two-name type of guy, you got pizzazz and are an old soul, you seem pretty old fashioned…
Action Bronson: Tradition… I like the way that things used to be, that people used to conduct themselves in different manners than they do now; with honour, and people had pride and there’s just a lot of bullshit that’s going on. I just like to conduct myself how I was brought up, like my father and my uncles handling themselves like grown men, sitting with their legs crossed, you know?
Pound: Eating some fine cuisine…
Action Bronson: Exactly, and sitting with some beautiful women, wearing trench coats, leather trench coats with the waist belt tied, briefcases ‘n’ shit. [Laughs]
Pound: You still live in Queens. Do you plan on staying there?
Action Bronson: I can pretty much live wherever I want at this point but I just feel that this is where I’m from and I can’t really leave it… Unless I move to Toronto. Yeahhhh, I’m gunna move next door to you.
Pound: Oh really? It’s a lot different from Queens here…
Action Bronson: Is it? I'm sure I could make the transition very smooth.