If someone had told Action Bronson that he’d be traveling the world rapping for a living when he was a chef, he would’ve told them to stop talking shit and pass the blunt. But that’s how things worked out. After working as a professional chef for the New York Mets, Bronson cooked up some pretty dope music on his debut Dr. Lecter, seasoning his rap lines with references to exotic foods and weed. As a result he’s been compared to Ghostface—and though that comparison is irksome to Bronson, he’s using it as motivation to further set himself apart from the rest of the pack. Peep what he had to say about his recent popularity, his new album and his Queens origins.
What the fuck, Bronson? You’re catching wreck this year. What do you think it is?
I don’t know man, I don’t know. It’s my look, it’s because I’m gorgeous. Nah, I mean probably because no one is doing it like I’m doing it right now. No one looks or sounds like me, now or ever.
Why do you think your style is so distinct?
I grew up in Flushing, Queens. If you know Queens you know how densely populated it is with immigrants of every culture. I’ve been exposed to a lot of cultures. I think somehow that influenced my music. It’s distinct because of its mix.
Speaking of style it’s no secret you were a chef but damn… there’s a lot of food in your raps.
Well, I try to use my food references in sophisticated manner. Not like just any food, just foods that real foodies and maybe chefs would know about. That chef life was my life for so long—its influences are going to come across in my music, you now? Besides that, it helps me distinguish myself somewhat from other rappers.
How did you get so into cooking initially?
I grew up in a family of cooks. Everyone cooks in my family, professionally or not. Like my mother is a baker and my dad owns a restaurant. You know how everyone says that their grandmother is the best cook? Well, my grandma really is the best cook I know.
Action Bronson & Statik Selektah, “Not Enough Words”
So how does the chef lifestyle differ from rap life?
You kidding me? I used to have to get up in the morning and go hit the market. Then I’d be on my feet all day. Now I get up in the morning and smoke mad weed and get on Twitter and talk shit. My life is still pretty normal, though; I just get to travel a lot for free. Really, I wanted to see the world and rap is helping me do that.
As a kid, did you ever think you’d grow up to be a rapper?
Honestly, no, I never thought I’d be rapper. I was a football player. I played center and defensive end for Bayside High School. I was too short though to take it too serious, like as a career so I was just enjoying high school. We would cut school and wild out or make fun of people on the Q31 bus going from Bayside to Jamaica. I just figured I’d cook my entire life and this rap thing appeared.
How and when did rapping suddenly become a career option?
Not sure how or when exactly. When I first started I wasn’t thinking career. My friends did it so I saw it wasn’t easy but I was OK at it. People just kept telling me I was good. I just started doing it on my own and got better and better. Soon I was going into the studio alone and working with Tommy Mas.
Tell us about the album with Statik Selektah.
It’s called Well Done. It’s 15 joints, all [Statik] production. I’d say these are my most introspective rhymes. I was laid up with a broken ankle after I slipped in the kitchen. It was a pretty shitty two months so the rhymes came out this way. On my first album I was just talking shit, so this one in comparison is more introspective. But this is the last time you’ll hear me like this. The album turned out dope, but I’m not going that route anymore. I like ignorant shit better.
How’s 2012 looking for you?
Really busy. I got to record a lot of music so I’m putting it all out this year coming up. I’m putting out a free album sponsored by Reebok and Fool’s Gold with Party Supplies called Blue Chips. Then I have a joint with Alchemist I’m putting out. Plus also I have the follow up to Dr. Lecter with Tommy Mas due out. I’m calling that one Mr. Wonderful.
Mr. Wonderful? Kinda feeling yourself, huh?
[Laughs] I didn’t decide that [I was wonderful]. I don’t really decide how or where I rank. I leave that to the people, the tastemakers. Every rapper thinks that they are [a] beast, so I’d rather get opinions from real people.