F*ck, That’s Successful: Action Bronson’s Transition From Niche Rapper To Mainstream Fixture

By | Posted August 8, 2016
How did a gourmet fire-flame cook become one of hip-hop's most beloved representatives? We investigate.
2016-08-08-action-bronson-niche-rapper-to-mainstream-fixture

Right this minute, it'd be fair to label Action Bronson as an extremely likable rapper who has built an incredible career for himself both inside and out of music. But when the former-cook-turned-emcee first arrived on the scene, many dismissed him as a one trick pony, destined to be relegated to Three Loco-esque fame. A few years, a major release, and some serious facetime on TV later, Bronson is now a household name.

What is it that took Bam Bam from, "that guy that kinda sounds like Ghostface" to an artist my father knows as "Bronsolino"? I'll try my best to explain.

Rap’s Vigilante, Out For Justice

The easiest explanation for Bronson’s success, and the only one that should really matter, is that he's a talented emcee. Even in his earliest work, Action displayed an eclectic style which acted as both an homage to and the next logical step away from his Queens roots. Scattered among the obscure sports and pop culture references in Bronson’s raps are legitimate gems of both braggadocio and self-examination.

What really sets Bronson apart lyrically is his culinary past. Bam Bam manages to consistently inject his bars with factually sound food references that actually fit within the context of a given verse. He’s doesn't just throw “carpaccio” into a line for shits and giggles; every reference is calculated and compliments the core subject matter like an expertly selected spice.

Release after released, Bronson continue to reassure fans and convert newcomers with hard-hitting, clever records that consistently hint at legitimate musical growth, culminating in the release of the often-weird, always-exciting Mr. Wonderful.

Live For The Moment, Reflect Later

Another huge factor in Bronson’s continued (and growing) success is somewhat more broad and less tangible - his personality. Watch any interview or TV appearance with Action and it’s immediately apparent that he’s an old soul. His personality is that of the quintessential no-bullshit New Yorker, infused with the nonchalant worldliness and warmth of a neighborhood butcher from the 1960's.

Throughout the entire Ghostface Killah debacle (minus that one poorly-timed and definitely-baited jab), Action acted with class and humility. The same can be said during the controversy surrounding his unreleased song, “Consensual Rape.” Bronson was quoted as saying, “I'm an honorable human being. I know what to do and what not to do, and if I'm wrong, I always apologize. I'm a big enough man to do that.” Coming from a character like Action those comments could feasibly be brushed off as east coast self-aggrandizement, but Bronson is legitimately a good guy, and it's clear he has the best intentions.

Everything Is Creative

In the past 17 months, we’ve seen the release of his major label debut, relentless touring, and not just one but two original television series conceptualized by and starring Bronson. There’s an air of ease about everything he does, and yet his tireless work ethic is made apparent through the sheer volume of projects he’s involved in.

Action Bronson isn’t just a hard worker, though, he’s also insightful as hell. In a television landscape that already contains Anthony Bourdain, Guy Fieri, and the Man v. Food guy, Bronson knew he could offer a unique perspective within the culinary reality TV realm. He teamed up with VICE, and thus, F*ck, That’s Delicious was born.

From that perfect union came an idea that is so beautiful in it’s simplicity, it could be Walter Sobchak’s “ringer” plan. The plan was simple: have Action Bronson smoke tons of weed with some of his rapper friends and watch Ancient Aliens. That’s it. What?! In one fell swoop, Action Bronson filled the gap that Mystery Science Theater 3000 left in our hearts, capitalized on the fact that VICELAND is literally paying people to smoke and talk about weed on camera, and helped to pacify the legions of pissed off Ancient Aliens fanatics that had nowhere to go now that VICELAND had taken over the History 2 channel that previously aired the show. Boom, Action Bronson & Friends Watch Ancient Aliens was catapulted into existence.That’s the ease-of-genius shit I’m talking about.

As a Result...

You’d be hard pressed to find someone that’s completely unwilling to admit Action Bronson has a rightful place in the spotlight, but if you happen to stumble across some lowly, trollish curmudgeon doing just that, quickly remind them of all the awesome shit I just detailed.

Bronson deserves every album sale, every soundtrack placement, every second of TV time he’s received, and considering he’s showed no signs of slowing down whatsoever, who knows what else he deserves that he’s just yet to accomplish?

Brent Bradley is a writer for DJBooth, and just recently remembered he has a Twitter.

Photo CreditKmeron

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