Action Bronson is a mad genius of Albanian descent who was born and raised in Flushing Queens. After a successful career as a gourmet chef, the avid NY1 watcher diverted his flavor-iffic skills to creating rap music. Two albums and five mixtapes later, he's emerged as one of the most distinctive voices in New York hip-hop.
Earlier this week Bronson released the video "Strictly 4 My Jeeps," the first single from his highly anticipated EP, Saab Stories produced entirely by Brooklyn beatmaker Harry Fraud. The visuals are predictably insane, whetting our appetite for what promises to be one of Action's illest records yet. We caught up with the big man to chop it up like a rack of lamb.
Interview by Rob Kenner (@boomshots)
“Strictly for my Jeeps” was a crazy video. Was that your concept?
Yeah me and Jason Goldwatch worked on it together. I knew with the feel of the record, I wanted to go with something similar to one of my first videos, “Shiraz.” Like just showing that NY street. Just having fun in New York and doing it in a wild way.
Yeah you do it in a wild way. And you seem to enjoy what you do a whole lot.
This wasn't in the plans so I’m just riding the waves you know what I mean? I’m very serious as well.
It’s nice to see you coming home to Queens.
I’m from there. 28-29 years of my life. I only know one thing. I only know Flushing, Queens That’s it.
So tell me about the Saaab Story.
Saaab Storiesman, coming out fucking June 11. Finally! Shit. Me and Fraud have been working so goddamn long, it’s fucking time. Boogie boarding, surfing, making music together, fucking thinking of raps and beats while we’re surfing in a beautiful ocean. I fucking choked a shark with my bare hands and elbow-dropped a marlin.
I choked a shark with my bare hands and elbow-dropped a marlin.
I didn’t know you had all those skills man. You’re multi-talented. I saw you weightlifting in the gym too—that was crazy.
I’m a born athlete. Weight-lifting is in my blood. I used to do the powerlifting thing. I gained a little weight but I still got it, I’m mad built.
You're flexing on these scrawny rappers?
Hey man, gotta flex the big muscles.
What is the Saaab Story what does that mean?
Well it’s with three “a’s” because of bullshit logistics. Saaab Stories are just me telling my stories. It can be a sad story, but it’s also uplifting and fly. “Catch me in a Saab...”
So you’re bringing back the Saab. Is that the new rap whip now?
No man, I stay on my classic cars. I’m a collector. The Saab is next in the collection after the fucking ‘89 Testarossa.
Oh shit. Rap has been good to you.
I’m living, I’m living.
That’s a beautiful thing. So, “Strictly for my Jeeps” is officially the first single off the album, right?
It’s officially the first single from my album. It’s an EP it has seven songs. I have a bunch of shit on there that could be a single.
I notice that you like to stick with one producer on any given project.
That’s just what happens. These are all my friends. I become friends with these people and then work. I feel comfortable and we get in grooves. Music is all about feeling. When you jump around with too many people you can never get that good feeling. Especially sometimes when you get that vibe, and you know you be out there with that vibe and ride it.
So is Riff Raff on this one?
I’m not gonna give away the features. You get the artwork and the tracklist and then you’ll see the features. Very minimal. Very minimal and very powerful.
That’s how we like it. Powerful. Did you have anything powerful in that vaporizer to knock that girl out in the video?
I had that PR award winner. That PR honey gold. You know. That Parisian award winner.
So is that part of the creative process? You hit that Parisian?
It’s not just part of the creative, it’s part of my life. I wake up and I smoke. I stopped smoking weed because it’s too hard on my lungs, I straight up started smoking the extract. It’s 100% You get fucking trashed, you don’t need too much of it.
Straight extract I’ve gotta look into that.
Yeah man it changes your life.
It’s about fitness as we get closer to swimsuit season. You know man I’m beautiful all year round.
I see you're throwing cartwheels in the video.
I’m doing gymnastics man. I’m not just a normal guy. I’m a gymnast.
I stopped smoking weed because it’s too hard on my lungs, I straight up started smoking the extract. It’s 100% You get trashed, you don’t need too much of it.
Nothing surprises me anymore.
That bothers me. I need to surprise motherfuckers again. I’ve got something up my sleeve don’t worry.
You put in enough work to get to this point.
It’s all good man. It’s hard to see where you’re going and what you’ve done while you’re living it. I don't know how you explain it. But when you sit back and you see certain things, it’s just moments of epiphany. “Like wow, look at my life right now.”
Exactly. Pushing that Saab down Queens Boulevard.
Pushing that E50 down Queens Boulevard.
It’s a beautiful thing. It couldn't have happened to a more stand up guy.
I appreciate that. Just gotta keep it up. Nice guys finish last, you gotta be good at all your business. Its always good to be humble man. I just treat people how they treat me. I’m naturally a nice person. I’m not trying to have any problems with people. I'm done with the drama and trouble. I want a stress free life.
So there’s no Action Bronson diss tracks coming out?
Hell no. Never. That’s not me I would never do that. I don't start things. I’m an honorable human being. I know what to do and what not to do and if I’m wrong I always apologize. I’m a big enough man to do that.
There’s no insecurity in you.
I’m a grown man. I’m not one of these young kids out here. I’m fucking 29-years-old. I’m not out here to play around.
Also check out Action Bronson on Complex TV's The Combat Jack Show Ep. 2 below.