Action Bronson at A&R Music Bar Photo by Nate Embrey
Action Bronson stormed the A & R bar stage after his deejay Party Supplies had just unleashed Mad Lion’s 1994 ragga banger "Take It Easy." His confidence beamed a vigilante’s aura that fit perfectly with Mad Lion's barking "Too Many Sucka's/Not Enough Time.” The room was packed and it greeted The Q-Boro emcee with the full adulation that hip hop tradition thinks a man with upper-echelon rap patterns, zooted stream of consciousness abstract metonymies that consistently align skill and hip hop taste level with an imperative for fellatio as reciprocation for his presence deserves. As he plowed through everything from his “the Saab Stories” EP to both “Blue Chips” tapes, to his early “Dr. Lecter” material and guest spots; the crowd was going line for line with him. At one point during his set, Bronson called out, "Introducing Bronsolino." The crowd responded with the next part "With My Hair Slicked Back I Look Like Rick Pitino" without missing cadence from his cameo from Chance the Rapper's "NaNa.” This was the moment of Chance’s arrival as well as Bronson’s. The humorous part of this line is that Bronson does not look anything like the dapper GQ -esque basketball coach. Bronson is not a pretty boy. Early in the evening Bronson exclaimed "Why would I need a bodyguard/if I look like a m-fing body guard." He did one of his songs, “Silverado,” over a loop of Elton John's "Island Girl.” As tangible as Bronson's underground popularity is; his success has already surpassed his niche. Historically, successful white rappers such as Macklemore, Beastie Boys, Slug and Eminem would also be considered good looking, which triggers their white privilege to teens, and the general masses. Normally, that a white man with a hefty body-type can rap would be relegated to tough macho rugged men and a few sadistic females. Privilege amongst the aesthetically under-privileged isn’t hugely marketable unless you are a professional wrestler. Don’t get me wrong, there were goons to rap along with his WWF referencing, “Hit You With the Dropkick Marty Jannetty” bridge from his Wiz Khalifa-collab, “The Rockers.” But usually you need to be a member of Wu-Tang or B.I.G. to align yourself with New York traditional MC entitlements, and not be relegated to a fan base of sociopaths and undesirables. Bronson is likable and cool. Many people might find his much talked about chef motif in line with his weight. But it also gives an awareness of a refined ability to create with texture. And also, who doesn’t respect a grown-ass man that can hook up a meal? Bronson also has sense of humor. Midway through his set, Bronson busted out a cover of Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out (You oughta know by now)” This solidified his party animal presence. You could picture him hanging out with hipsters at a karaoke night, and charming everyone with his ironic offering to the party. “Movin’ Out” also works on a goon level because Juelz Santana rapped over it on a Harlem classic. The unbilled opening act fit this idea of the hip hop goon being boys with hipster and emo kids. I didn’t catch the name but they played subdued dance punk. The crowd did not throw things at them but it was curious to see skinny dudes in tight jeans, who sounded kind of like the Talking Heads, play in front of this hip hop audience. Panic! At the Disco was set to play the LC the following night, and Bronson posted some pictures of himself with Brandon Urie of Panic! At The Disco in Columbus right after the show night. So it might have been Mr. Urie was trying out a side project in front of a hip hop crowd. I think this seals the real reason Bronson works beyond just goon-rap He has an extremely warm ubiquity. Bronson climaxed the evening by entering the crowd with no shirt and adroitly rapped next to every single fan for a moment as he maneuvered from the stage to the back, and then back to the front. Action Bronson gets that rap is supposed to be fun.

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