With a flair for the eccentric, Action Bronson performed in front of his tight-knight fan base at Milwaukee’s Rave, on Nov. 9 . That isn’t to say there weren’t many people present, but the crowd of a few hundred were clearly attached to Bronson’s antics, and his catalogue, making it feel like there were a few thousand.
After rapper Mayhem Lauren and hardcore-punk, California-based band Trash Talk performed, the man who takes cooking as seriously as he does rapping, Bronson, wowed. Showcasing an infectious character, one teeming with irony just as much it did charisma, Bronson played performed for about an hour to an ecstatic crowd. They clearly knew his back catalogue, never missing a lyric.
The Flushing, N.Y. rapper mainly performed tracks from his favorably received commercial debut, Mr. Wonderful, which was released in 2015, and the latest installment of his Blue Chips series, Blue Chips 7000, from late August. Tracks included “Baby Blue,” “Easy Rider,” “Durag vs. Headband,” among others.
Given the experimentation Bronson has done in his catalogue, with tabbing producers from the Alchemist, and Party Supplies, the live setting is the perfect place to expose carnal guitars and catchy piano rolls, underneath Bronson’s stage presence. While dodging fan-deflected mini beach balls, the emcee did everything from shoutout his Albanian heritage to saying the reason he secured his food and travel show (“****, That’s Delicious,” which is on Viceland) is because he can rap laps around any rapper. A part-time salesman and comedian, a satirical Bronson also pitched his other show, “Action Bronson Watches Ancient Aliens,” and noted that people who like tremendous food, unbelievable music, and happiness should enjoy it.
Before he went off stage, he said he’d be back in Milwaukee relatively soon.
He is, unquestionably, in on the joke, of which is peddled by people who see him more as a vacuous celebrity than a true rhymer. But, there is no bones about it: he does epitomize the role of an artist, affecting his audience through his lyricism and laidback aura. After being called out, in his early mixtape days, as a facsimile of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, Bronson has always exhibited his influences. One who informs his audience, crosses generational gaps – see his material that’s included voices, from Sean Price to Styles P – he interpolated Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend,” amidst “Baby Blue.”
The once-widely underground rapper is climbing the ranks with each release, and there’s no consensus as to what realm he’ll wander into next, though, I’m sure, it’ll quickly become a passion for one who seems so lighthearted.