On Friday, charismatic New York City MC, food aficionado, and all-around endearing entity Action Bronson will play the Cabooze. The show, which was rescheduled from a canceled date earlier this year, is a good opportunity for Bronson's newer or perhaps less-obsessive fans to catch up on his outstanding work. With his new album Mr. Wonderful in store now, plus cameo appearances everywhere from ESPN to alongside chef Mario Batali, Bronson's profile is exploding. And given his prolific output, it's easy to miss a lot of the great jams he's put out over the years. As much as we enjoy his new album and most recent mixtapes, we at City Pages would like to remind listeners that Bronson's been nice since at least 2009. In the interest of "riding the Harley into the sunset," here are five great Action Bronson tracks you might have missed.
Off of his first release, 2009's Bon Appitite...Bitch!, the video for "Imported Goods" finds a positively svelte Bronson cruising through New York with the same affable coolness he exudes today. The track, produced by Rhode Island's Falside (a few years before his excellent The Mechanics EP with Juan Deuce) gives us hints of Bronson's persuasion for food and way with the ladies that would become flushed out on later releases.Action Bronson - "Moonstruck" (2011)
Bronson's Dr. Lecter might be our favorite full-length project of his, which is a shame as it goes largely unmentioned when Bronson's other albums and mixtapes get discussed. The diverse but distinctly New York production gave a refreshingly warm soundscape for Bronson to just exude his flamboyant idiosyncrasies all over. It's an outstanding album beginning-to-end, which is why choosing one track was so hard. We went with the opener "Moonstruck," a perfect beginning to the proceeding tracks that, as far as we know, never got the boost from a video clip. Bronson's never rocked over a beat like this before or since, and he absolutely slaughters it.Action Bronson - "Mr. Songwriter" (2011)
In between Dr. Lecter and his Well Done album with Statik Selectah, Bronson released the four-track The Program EP, a great starting point for those new to Bronson that's also become overlooked due to the sheer volume of Bronson output since. "Mr. Songwriter" shows Bronson's sharp lyrics and personality married perfectly to an infectious beat on one of the catchiest tracks he's ever been a part of. If you' or someone you know has never heard a Bronson track before, this would be one to throw their way.Smoke DZA feat. Action Bronson - "Turnbuckle Music" (2012)
Despite Bronson's new album Mr. Wonderful seemingly being named after '80s professional wrestler Paul Orndorff, Bam Bam Bronson has somewhat toned down his sheer volume of professional wrestling references in recent releases. One of his finest tracks about the squared circle was his collaboration with Smoke DZA - "Turnbuckle Music." Here, Bronson and DZA rap from the perspective of celebrated professional wrestling tag-team duo The Dudley Boyz. It's a shining example of, wrestling-wise, what Bronson brings to the table.J57 feat. Meyhem Lauren, Action Bronson, Maffew Ragazino, Rasheed Chappell - "The Main Event" (2013)
While 2012 and 2013 saw Bronson reach critical acclaim for his masterful, freeform flow over beats without drums, there's something really special about the way Bronson hits between kicks and snares that goes largely overlooked. On Brown Bag All Stars member J57's track "The Main Event" (which J57 also produced), Bronson shows how on-point he can still execute a guest appearance on some hard drums, fitting perfectly in a well-balanced but diverse posse cut line-up.