He's not a hype man, not a weed carrier. He's a boss.
The rap game is like life. It's all about who you know. Loyalty. Relationships. Flesh of my flesh and all that. And who's fleshier than Action Bronson and his Albanian road dog Big Body Bess? You probably remember Bess from his cameos in the "Strictly 4 My Jeeps" video or his chest-thumping intro to AB's Rare Chandeliers.
"That’s my Albanian cousin, straight off the boat type shit," Bronson explained when asked who the fuck that was calling himself "Mr. Motherfuckin Marvelous" on somebody else's record. "He’s one of those really wild, in and out of jail Albanians. He’s a star, though.”
If you mistake Bess for some kind of weed carrier or hype man, he'll be quick to put you in check. This former juvenile convict is more of a busted-broom-handle carrier and self-styled "boss." Plus he's been around the world and back with his red-bearded broski—so we decided to hit Bess on the Star-Tac and ask "What's your life like?"
What did we learn? Be careful what you ask for.
Interview by Rob Kenner (@boomshots)
What’s going on Body?
So how do you know [Action] Bronson? Is he really your cousin?
That’s the first question of the fucking interview, man?
Nah he is, man. I’m just playing. We’re related through a lot of ways, man. We street related. We got mutual people in the street. I’ve known him since I was 16, 17. We’re related through a lot of people. I’ve known him since a minute but that dude’s like blood. We’re linked through a lot of ways and shit like that. I can’t really speak on too much, you know what I’m saying? I’ll give you the gist of it. I don’t want to get myself indicted in an interview.
I enjoyed your intro on Rare Chandeliers.
It’s the truth, man. Let me tell you something about my features. Every time you hear me on those tracks it ain’t no mother fuckin’—people be getting it confused, people be saying, “Oh, he’s doing some skits,” or “He’s a hypeman.” Fam, I ain’t no mother fucking hype man. I don’t come out and do nobody’s shows. I don’t do ad-libs. I do my shit. He gave me love on the fucking verses right here. Ain’t nothing rigged, or pre-thought.
I go in there, boom, I speak my mind, I speak what it is and it’s just real shit. The real motherfuckers that feel this shit are motherfuckers that can relate so of course all the while they're going to get the love. You can get anybody to go into a booth and talk some shit but a motherfucker speaking wisdom, speaking real shit. Ain’t nothing exaggerated. Shit’s real life.
Body plays the background in this still from the "Strictly 4 My Jeeps" video.
You’re dropping some jewels on there, Mr. Motherfuckin' Marvelous.
I am, though. Tell them: they better go cop a chain now before all these gems have dropped. It’s crazy, man. I’m out here.
So what’s your role on tour?
I hold it down regardless. I’m not no security guard. I’m not no bouncer but I do that automatically. I’m on the front line, you understand? That goes without saying. I don’t have a title. I’m not a hype man; I come out and do my thing.
Weed carrier? Hell no! I’ve got a lady that holds my weed.
You’re not a weed carrier. You’re not a hype man.
Weed carrier? Hell no! I’ve got a lady that holds my weed. You know what it is man? They got those other groups out there, they got their little cliques, they always got their little bullshit going on. We ain’t got no dojas with us, man. Everybody’s a boss.
You see Big Body Bes—boss. Action Bronson—boss. Meyhem Lauren—boss. This is how it is. I don’t know. Things work perfectly. I do my own thing, too, I get my own situation, man. I don’t live off nobody. But Action Bronson, you know, God Bless that man. That’s a self-made man right there, put himself on, then showed me love [by] pulling me in with him. You always catch him in the hood, though. You catch him coming out here on the street at one in the morning, crazy man. Man stays with a pair of shorts on man. He refuses to clothe his legs, man. You always catch him with a nice low top sneaker. It’s all about that ankle exposure.
No doubt, man. So what’s the proper way to identify you in the camp? Are you an artist?
I’m a boss, man. I’m a fucking boss, B. I don’t have to be on things like that. I’m more behind the scenes boss. I’m up there. I’ve got a mixtape man. Listen, man hey ain’t even fucking know I rhyme. I’m all over shit, man. I’m telling you I’ve got my foot in everything.
So what’s the mixtape’s called?
I’m still tweaking titles right now. I was going to go with Body Language, you know what I’m saying? Body Language Season 1. It’s going to be some wild shit, man.
You say you’ve known Bronson for a while now, did you know him before he was an artist?
Maan... Listen. I’ve known my man since I was a teenager. I’m related to him through a whole lot of things. My man Meyhem Lauren, I know his father and me and his pops—and put this in the interview don’t skip this out—I knew his father before I knew anybody. Me and his pops is real, we connected like that. I can’t put it on blast but Meyhem’s father is real heavy in the uptown scene, he’s real heavy in the jail scene.
I’m 15 years old [and] I came home. I was in the juvenile facility upstate, I was doing time upstate when I was 13. So I came home, 15 years old, boom. I came home I had parole or whatever, I met up to see Mey, boom, I knew Mey’s pops. I came in through Mey, Mey introduced me, who knew Action. This was back in the day, man, 15 years old.
That’s real right there.
I’m saying, Big Body, yo. The story starts off at 11 years old. I’ve been thugging since 13, dog. We been doing this, man. Blowing trials at 14, my g. Upstate wylin’, man. We does this man. When I say I was wild in these streets with no shoes on believe when I tell you this is what it is.
This is in Queens?
Nah, my story starts off in the BX—Boogie Down Bronx.
You know what I mean? Shout outs to Davidson Avenue. Shout outs to my whole family from Fordham. Albanian straight to the Bronx, now I’m over here, now I’m in Brooklyn. I’m in the East New York section wyling right now, but it’s Queens love too, all day. I’m everywhere.
When you left Albania was that during the war?
Nah, nah. I’m [from] over here. My peoples came from over there in Albania. My family’s got the refugee status, though. My mother and my father got that refugee status. They came over here when that shit was poppin’ off crazy.
I was in the street at a young age, man. They took me out crib, had me up in Spofford, put me upstate in Tryon. I was wylin’ up there, man. I’d walk around with a broken broom stick sometimes for no reason.
So what did you go to the facility for at 13? What did you go in for?
I had robbery, I had assault. Robbery, a couple of assaults. I was in the street at a young age, man. They took me out crib, had me up in Spofford, put me upstate in Tryon. I was wylin’ up there. It is what it is. It’s real thug shit. Mother fuckers is out here. C’mon, son. I’d walk around with a broken broom stick sometimes for no reason.
Just in case you need that.
Yeah, just because it matches my Timbs [Laughs]. I can’t make this stuff up, son. Listen, I’m with my yougin’s right now. I’m with my ygs right now. My little man’s like 17, he’s just walking around with a rusty screwdriver ready to stab son for no reason and it’s a good day. It’s a nice day outside. We over here, we on Sutter Ave, you know. It’s a lot of situations going on in the projects right now. I might just lay out and tan on the roof of the PJs for no reason. Everything is great, but back to the music shit, man.
How did your life change when Bronson got on?
I’m going to be honest with you. It didn’t really change me because I’m still out here. I’m fighting a case right now. I’m still in the same neighborhood. I’m doing the same thing but we go out, you know, do the tour thing. We out here meeting new people. I’m out here. My man showing me mad love, you know. That’s my brother forever.
So tell us some road stories.
Yo, listen. Back in the days I used to be out there with my man in downtown Manhattan, we used to be out there selling coke and shit. We were selling 20s for $40. Once we would run out selling the shit, we used to go to CVS, go bag up some fucking Alka Seltzer, crush the Alka Seltzer, make sure that shit had some gold to it, make it look like some fish scale. Throw that shit in, bag those up, burn the tips, go to St. Marks and Third Ave right there, aim them shits. This was back in the day. I’m everywhere. I’m a BX baby, I’m a Brooklyn Buck, Queens to Manhattan, I’m just everywhere, man.
My name is everywhere. My whole thing is, I’ve been famous before music, that’s what it is. That’s why it clicks off. You see behind the scenes shit. Everybody fucking with your man Body. “How are people fucking with him? How come they showing up?” Motherfucker because I laid the groundwork. I can’t build with you when your foundation is weak. You know what I’m saying? When motherfucker’s about to crumble.
That’s real. You can’t build a house on sand you got to build on rock.
Yeah, exactly. It’s got to be on a solid little surface there, buddy. Because when you’re no good, you’re shaky. A lot of these dudes don’t know what to do with me. I meet a lot of these rapping type dudes. I don’t want to talk shit, a lot of these dudes is official, good dudes but you got a lot of these funny-style nervous motherfuckers around.
Yo, I’m backstage you know. I’m drinking, I’m smoking, I might be f***ing something, I might just be doing push ups off the coffee table for no reason. It is what it is. I gotta express myself.
Now you got dudes that want to talk on records and at the end of the day, son, you can’t duplicate what I do. It could be ha-ha, hee-hee, but at the end of the day my shit’s heartfelt. I go to shows and I got motherfuckers reciting my shit shit. These are real thugged out motherfuckers, just came home, did five, 10 years like, “Yo, I respect you. I fuck with your shit.” I throw a little humor in there to cover the pain with a little laughter.
You know sometimes you gotta joke. I want to take it to other levels. Whatever it costs.
When you take the show to different parts of the world, do people try to test you guys?
Nah, man. I haven’t seen that yet. Honestly, I’m not even gonna lie to you. I’ve had to hem a couple dudes out because you’ve got these male groupie types that want to come around like, “Yo, I want to smoke weed and grab a Red Bull.” I'm like yo, my man, go fuck yourself. Go kiss your uncle on the cheek. I don’t want to see that type of shit around me man.
Yo, I’m backstage, you know? I’m drinking, I’m smoking, I might be fucking something, I might just be doing push ups off the fucking coffee table for no reason. It is what it is. I gotta express myself. I gotta express my body.
That’s right. Who gave you the name Big Body Bes?
I used to go by Bes but Big Body, that came from my man that resided in East New York. My man used to call me Big Body because I was a young dude but I was always a big dude. Plus I used to always push the big body whips, do big body things, so they were like fuck it. Plus I always had an appetite. You could see me at three in the morning eating steak in the street. Just leaning over a fucking livery cab eating a whole meal spread, having a whole picnic on top of a fucking ’98 Lincoln.
It helps to have a chef in the crew. Bronson probably makes sure everyone eats good.
Always. At the end of the day I do my thing because you gotta understand I’m Albanian too. I got a lot of pride. I like to get my own because I’m so used to getting my own since I was little. My whole thing is like he’s showing love, that man is mad generous, son, I can’t front.
That man came to bail me out. They had me over there for four, five months with no bail. They had a hold on me in Connecticut on some crazy conspiracy charges. Finally got bail like two weeks ago, ya man came in the next 24 hours. As soon as the lawyer called him—boom, he gave him 50 cash. $50,000 cash no problem, boom.
I’ve had to hem a couple dudes out because you’ve got these male groupie types that want to come around like 'Yo, I want to smoke weed and grab a Red Bull.' I'm like 'Yo, my man, go kiss your uncle on the cheek.'
That’s love right there.
Yeah. I’ll kill for that man. He already knows what time it is we don’t do no security. You’ll never see security around. Our whole team looks like a bunch of linebackers. C’mon son. It looks like they emptied out OBDC (Otis Bantum Correctional Center), they emptied out half of Rikers Island, man, just threw them on the team. C’mon man. That shit’s crazy.
My whole team is ridiculous man and we’re real heavy in the community in New York City if you hear what I’m trying to say. We’re real right. We’re real rooted out here, fella. If they released OBD it’d be 1,000 people, man. It’s too much. I don’t worry about nothing. My man is going to take it to the top. Next up. Big Body’s there, son. I’m everywhere. There���s nowhere I can’t be. My presence is there if I’m not there, my mans is going to be there. I don’t even know. This shit is crazy. This shit is wild. Ask me some ill shit, man. Ask me some wild shit.
Any good groupie tales?
You know I’m fucking pussy! You know I’m all about fucking street sex, I’m about all types of acrobatic moves. I’m about dangerous sex. Sometimes, like, Monday through Thursday I’m all about disrespectful sex moves.
What was the wildest thing you’ve seen on the road so far?Oh my god. I’ll have to keep it real—two years ago at SXSW. That was my first time [there]. I just finished with my P.O. in New York, probation and everything, five years. I came off, I came out there to Texas—yo, it was a wrap man. It was so much sex, so much motherfucking drug use, you know somebody got kidnapped.
I tell these girls, from Monday through Thursday I’m all about disrespectful sex moves.
I’m blacking out on Hennessy, next thing you know I’m punching some fucking Arabian guy’s ribs for no reason. Some dude had on six toe rings. Shit got crazy, son, the mini-van, it was covered in blood. This is real shit, man. I woke up in the morning, my knuckles were all busted up. I’m wyling. Your man RiFF RaFF was in the motherfucking hotel wylin’. We in there crazy, man.
Everything is straight, man. You know what it is with me, man? I fuck with dudes but I don’t really give a shit. My mans is here, my man is doing his thing, he’s popping. Everybody else is doing they thing, showing me love. I’m out here. Motherfuckers is just being themselves. I think between you and me, man, people love the authenticity.
So the next thing is the mixtape. What's the time frame on that?
We got Body Language coming out. We got Alchemist on there, I’m gonna have Harry Fraud, Alchemist, and Party Supplies, too. And I’m all about my man Action’s album. When I tell you my hook game is crazy, my hook game is crazy!
You should be getting some publishing checks in a minute.
I’m stylin’ right now. This shit is crazy. It’s too crazy right now. We doing some shit right now but I want to do the whole visual thing. I got to take you on a day in the life. I’ve got to show you around.
That sounds like a COMPLEX TV segment!
No doubt. I fuck with COMPLEX. I want to get this mixtape I need some publicity for this shit too. Ayo, can I give a shout out?
Yeah, man, no doubt.
Yo shout out to the whole fucking Motherland where it all started, you already know, man. Shout out to the BX borough. Shout out to my family out there on Davidson Avenue, my Fordham family. Shout out to my East New York, Brooklyn family. My Fulton street family all day. Yo, my man Tito with the patch on his eye, it’s going to be alright son. We going to cop you an eye next summer son. Everything’s going to be alright.
Everybody—my family, catch me at a diner getting crazy with the scrambled eggs, you already know what time it is. Man, everybody wylin’ in Q borough, my Flushing people I see you, my Lower East Side Thugs, I see you Avenue B out there wylin’ the projects with the front seat. But, yo, fuck it though man. We coming out this year. We moving on up, we only selling 20s this year. Fuck that dime shit.
That’s what it is.
Yeah, man. I got your number. Go fuck yourself, be safe.