Action Bronson Takes Crocs From the Kitchen to the Club

Action Bronson photo courtesy of MAC Media. Photo: Alexander Richter

“I was rocking Crocs and I busted three human beings’ assholes at the game 21!” Action Bronson says over drinks and mozzarella sticks, bragging about his prowess on the basketball court while sitting in a bar on 106th Street and Amsterdam in Manhattan. His fondness for the comfortable, spongy rubber footwear comes from his past life holding down duties as a chef; he appreciates the much-maligned, Mario Batali-adored footwear for its many uses, asshole-busting aside: “You can go from the kitchen to the street to the dance-floor in Crocs.”

With Bronson, the Croc mention is apt: It was only 2008 when the Flushing Queens-raised rapper seriously considered trading in his knife for a mic. To date, he’s likely the only rapper to have ever uploaded an instructional video to YouTube about how to sear an Ahi tuna steak. Now, after dropping his Dr. Lecter debut album earlier in the year, Bronson has released Well-Done. It’s a full-length project entirely produced by Statik Selektah and was largely written while Bronson was holed up at home with a broken ankle he suffered as he slipped while working in his father’s Mediterranean restaurant (no word on what shoes he was wearing at the time). Bronson has now taken himself from the kitchen to the street to the dancefloor.

Bronson’s continued love of grub is no gimmick. His raps might be peppered with references to Chesapeake Bay soft-shell crabs, heirloom tomatoes, Italian Grana Padano cheese and “slow roasted animals smothered in gravy,” but he also raps like a beast. The oft-quoted lazy comparison is that he sometimes sounds a little like Ghostface and spits in the lineage of Big Pun, but Bronson exudes a fresh personality of his own — not least when coining catchphrases about his feral facial hair. So as he picked over a plate of mozzarella sticks, we got Bronson to open up about the best music to play in the kitchen, illegal rap raves in Queens, and the intricacies of Rick Ross’ bushy beard.

The first song on the new album is titled “Respect The Mustache.” Is facial hair something you feel strongly about?

Yeah, respect the mustache, because people have problems with their facial hair these days, like they grow Fu-Manchus and funny facial hair. I’m proud of my luxurious full length beard — you’ve got to respect that. I mean, I just let it go, I don’t even sculpt it. So I coined that phrase — respect the mustache — because facial hair is a sign of being a man; respect my man-hood.

Is your mustache like Samson’s hair when it comes to your rapping?

I’d think so. I’m actually keeping it as a goal so if I lose 50 pounds then I’ll shave it. But that’s not happening any time soon — I mean we’re eating mozzarella sticks and chicken fingers and drinking ginger ale right now!

Who else in hip-hop has decent facial hair?

Sean P has a pretty nice beard and Freeway obviously. I’d give Sean P’s beard about a seven.

What could Sean P do to improve his beard?

It’s the miscellaneous hairs he has some places. He needs to get the line sculpted right.

Is Freeway’s beard the gold standard?

Freeway’s is more Islamic. Rick Ross has a pretty impressive beard but he has mad berries and juices in his — you can tell ’cause it’s always shiny and shit. Everyone always asks me if I dye this shit. I’m like, ’What, are you crazy?’ I tell ’em I’m like an old fuckin’ Bangladeshi man with an orange beard!

You mentioned that you wrote most of the new album while you were at home with a broken ankle. Did being cooped up that way affect the lyrics you were writing?

It 100% changed my whole perspective on things. I mean, I’ve done all the loopy songs and just the straight hardcore rhyming and shit, and we wanted to try and make actual songs with this one. I had a lot of time to sit with it because I was off my feet for a time. I was laid up, then one night when it was pouring with rain I took the cane, took the car out and knocked a couple of songs out.

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