On October 18, as New York music lovers line up for CMJ Week shows, Complex will be throwing their own event, in Brooklyn. (You can RSVP to it, here! It's free!) At the top of the super-sized bill sits Action Bronson, the bearded wonder, who has—over the past two years—conquered all corners of the world, seeing it all through heavily-lidded eyes.
Always on the move, he's earned the respect of the cool kids: hanging onstage at Fool's Gold Day Off parties, making a critically-lauded mixtape with Party Supplies, trading messages on Twitter with Diplo and Alchemist, stumbling around L.A. with Riff Raff.
Vice recently signed him to their label, complete with a splashy press release that went out in August, boasting quotes from manager Paul Rosenberg. (Yes, that Paul Rosenberg.) From Flushing, Queens to the top of the world, it figures that—at the moment we speak—he's out looking for a Champion hoodie.
Interview by Jeff Rosenthal (@itsthereal)
The last time you played a show in Brooklyn, a couple of people went home with free dinners from Peter Luger's. Now, not everyone loves a big free steak. What vegetarian options do you have for attendees showing up to Complex's CMJ night next week?
Ah, I don't know! See, I don't eat vegetarian, so I gotta cater to the people who are fuckin'...I gotta cater to my crowd. I can't worry about vegetarians, I'm a fuckin' meat eater. I'll throw a piece of broccoli at 'em—raw. I'm gonna have a big bushel.
You did press around last year's CMJ, and you said you were a cook that just happens to rap. At what point did you become a rapper that happens to cook?
I'm a chef that happens to rap; there's a difference. Right now, I'm a fuckin' rapper, there's no doubt about it. I'm a professional rapper. I'm no longer a professional cook...chef.
Do you feel you have to get away from that part of your life, though? Every single interview you do revolves around food.
Never! I mean, people just gotta not ask stupid questions, like, "What's your favorite dish to make?"
Rats. That was my next question.
Yeah, please don't ask me that question, ever! It's redundant. It's just like, "Everything, man." It's obvious: I'm fuckin' 320.
It's all vegetarian options with you.
All vegetarian everything: potatoes, peas. Mad soy.
In general, people say that stoners don't work hard, and yet you're always working on something new. Can you clarify: Are there actually drugs in your drugs, or are you just pretending?
Are you kidding me? There's so much drugs in my drugs! Like, my drugs is filled with drugs. Are you kidding me right now? I'm a functioning drug addict. I have a furnace burning inside. I want to be the best at everything, so I smoke a lot of weed. It's just to calm me down and keep me focused.
I guess it's the same way with Curren$y and Riff Raff and...
Riff Raff don't smoke. I don't know what the fuck he's on. He's on some next shit.
Speaking of which, what are you working on now?
I just shot a video yesterday for my first single with Alchemist, called "Symbol." We've got that project coming out, it's called Rare Chandeliers, coming out this month through Vice. Now I'm just working on my debut...we've got a whole bunch of shit in the works.
You recently put up a picture on Instagram of a giant drum of a cookie jar filled with weed. Now, I'm not a cop, but are rappers ever surprised when the cops show up backstage, maybe on the bus?
I don't know about the bus; I don't take buses—I take a private vehicle—but when cops show up, drugs are thrown and we run. There's no hesitations. You might think I'm a big man, 320, but I move faster than any of these little motherfuckers, these little track stars. I'll tell you this: For the first thirty yards, I'm faster than anybody. Motherfuckin' Michael Johnson, straight up!
How gold are your shoes right now?
My shoes are very gold. I'm wearing Michael Johnsons right now.
I've heard rumors that you're moving to L.A.
Who the fuck told you that? I'm just getting a spot out there. I'm not moving.
I saw a tweet you put up that said, "L.A. is getting a new resident."
Oh, right, right. Yeah, that was just for the drug card. We're looking good, though.
But being in L.A., I'm worried about your milky white skin. Are you going to buy an umbrella hat?
My what? What'd you say? You said I have milky white skin? No, I don't! What are you, crazy?! Don't you ever, ever use the word milky to describe a man. Never use the word milky to describe me. You fuckin' crazy? [Laughs.] Albanians, we tan well! I don't burn; I bake.
You're going to be playing a show with your friend The Alchemist, and so you and I are going to play a game. Tell two truths and one lie about Alchemist.
Tell two truths and one lie...hm...I don't fuckin' know, man. This is crazy! What kind of game is this? I don't know this game. Two truths and one lie? I don't fuckin' know, bro. He doesn't smoke a lot of weed—that's a fuckin' lie. I don't like this, man! I feel pressured, I don't like it. I don't like this game, man, play another one.
You're 28, and your 10-year high school reunion is coming up. Even though you dropped out, it begs the question: What would it take for you to go?
I always thought about that. I would like to go to one. I don't give a shit. I just don't know where it is.
Can you make this Complex CMJ concert your high school reunion?
Can I? Pshh. I mean, I don't have the power to do that, but that would be pretty fuckin' cool.
To attend the "Judgment Night" concert, which will feature performances from Action Bronson, Interpol's Paul Banks, Alchemist, Spaceghostpurrp, and many others, RSVP here.