Photo By: Lucas Alvarado / Far Fetched
Action Bronson has quickly become a must-see act at every festival. During the 7th Annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia last Saturday (May 31), Bronson fans were already surrounding the Oasis stage well before indie rock band The War On Drugs finished their set. Packed shoulder to shoulder in the sweltering sun could have been a uncomfortable situation for some, but it didn’t matter for diehards in the audience waiting for their favorite Queens rapper. With the DJ all set up and ready to fire up some warm-up hits at 6:20 PM sharp, the party was about to take off.
Bronson’s arrival was met with a series of loud chants and cheers. Clearly, the heavyset rapper has garnered a large following over the years and even gained a reputation as the guy who throws fans off stages. Here, he ran through well-known cuts from his mixtapes like “Shiraz,” “The Rockers” and “Contemporary Man.” In between songs, Bronson hurled boxes of sneakers (Mutumbos! Jordans!), instead of his signature bags full of potent chronic. At the end, he got up close and personal with his fans by maneuvering through them and rapping his songs, which really was a sight to see.
Just moments before, Bronson was shaking hands with fans and taking pictures with everyone from Freeway to G-Eazy backstage. XXL got a quick chat with Bronsolino about his feature on Ab-Soul’s “Stigmata,” his upcoming album, Mr. Wonderful, and more. “This project is definitely coming out this year,” he says. “Mr. Wonderful. I’m out here. Straight up.” Just wait on it.—Eric Diep
XXL: You recently appeared on Ab-Soul’s “Stigmata.” How was that?
Action Bronson: I love Soul, man. He’s a great kid. Anything he needs from me, he can have. I did that shit when I was on tour. I had bronchitis man. I sounded like shit, but he was like, “Nah, fuck it man I like it. It sounds different.” I was like, “Cool.” And that’s that. “Stigmata” is a powerful song. He’s making some bold statements.
Are you on Soul’s album anywhere else?
I think that’s it. But hopefully he’ll be on mine. The song is done. I’m just finishing up the logistics of it. Getting all that taking care of.
What’s the name of the song that you are putting him on?
I don’t name songs until the night before. I’m serious. It’s just a song, a number.
What’s the story behind your album title, Mr. Wonderful?
I’m Mr. Wonderful, you know what I am saying? I’m Mr. Smiley. My mother used to say this when I was younger, like I would do something crazy and she would [be like] “Oh, great. Mr. Wonderful. Ah, Mr. Wonderful.” I just be a bad person, you know what I mean? She would be very sarcastic about it, but that’s pretty much what it is about. I’m just ill. I want to show you how ill I am. All my lyrical illness.
What are you thinking right now for the artwork?
Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits. A slight smirk with his head turned. Backlit. It’s just incredible. I’m all about art. I’m an artiste. That’s what I care about most. I don’t give a fuck about the fucking glamour bullshit. I don’t give a fuck about the back story. Look at my art. Listen to it. Like it, don’t. Blow me from behind. In that order.
You said on this album you don’t want to follow any trends and you want to just rap.
It’s not just I wanna rap. There’s no trends, ever. I just make what I want. The concept behind it is Mr. Wonderful. You are going to hear how wonderful everything is. Everything is great. My life is beautiful right now. I couldn’t have asked for more. You are gonna hear the joy that I have. It’s very musical. It’s very heartfelt and fun and thoughtful. You are going to cry. You are going to laugh. You are going to shit your pants. All the bodily functions. Nut. Kiss. Shit. Sneeze. Cough. Hiccup.
That’s a different way of doing any album because—
They care about their singles. They care about what’s gonna be played on the radio. I don’t give a fuck. I’m gonna be honest. I don’t care about much. I care about people liking my music. I made it very far without nothing being on radio. The song that was on radio was like a joke. “Yeah, I’m gonna make this so Flex can play it.” And he did! He fucking did! I was right! You know what I’m saying? It’s not rocket science here. I am telling you. You can make songs for the radio. 1, 2, 3. That’s simple bullshit. But to actually do art and time this shit, that’s why I’m here. I don’t care about one single here. This, that. I care about full body of work and how my first album quote unquote, you know what I am saying? I already put out seven, eight projects. Now, I have to focus on my debut album. I’m supposed to change my entire style? Let’s see what he’s gonna do now. You are gonna see what I am doing now.
Are you concerned with album sales and growing your fan base?
If you want to compare me and Q, Q is already coming from some place where it is proven. You know what I’m saying? They are hot now. TDE is hot. If I was on there, maybe it would be hot. Who knows? But, the spotlight is on them. You feel me? And Q went for it. He did “Studio”: “Sitting in the studio…” That’s a radio song. That’s a radio smash. He did it. He did what he said he was gonna do.
I don’t have that shit. I’m not sitting in the studio waiting to get to her baby. I’m not. I’m in the studio getting fucking drugged out of my face. Very like, “What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do?” Sitting by the window, mad scientist type shit. I’m very… I have to do what I want at all times. No one can say anything to me. “Yo, you should do this.” I flip out on some fuckin’ weirdo shit. I know where I am in my life, you know what I’m saying? At the end, fam, like I said, I made it far without being on the radio, being on the radio is not everything. Do I expect sales like that? Let’s be honest, no. I want more, but that depends on a radio song, shit like that. If it depends on that, who knows what I’ll sell? It doesn’t matter to me as long as people hear it and they fuck with it.
What’s the writing process so far?
It’s psychedelic. That’s where I’m at. That’s what I’m on. I’m into heavy duty, psychedelic, foreign music. That’s what I like listening to. A lot of Turkish shit is what I am influenced by. Polish, prog-rock. Traveling and listening to different records that have been done from different places. No rap music. I don’t want to hear any rap. I want to hear just classic music. When you listen to rap, you become a fuckin’ idiot. When you listen to classical music and shit like that, it opens your mind and you start thinking differently. That’s what it is.