“What a fucking way to spend MLK Day,” Action Bronson declared as he graced the historic Howard Theatre in Washington Monday night. The packed house erupted into cheers of “Bronson, Bronson,” and clouds of smoke, when the Albanian-chef-turned rapper made his grand entrance with the intro friendly “Silverado” off his latest mixtape Blue Chips 2—for which this tour is in support of, as his backdrop.
Words by N.Sella.
Taking the stage in nothing more than some gym shorts and a grey t-shirt that was even too big for his frame, he doesn’t have the typical rapper look, background or sound—and that’s what makes Bronson so appealing. He’s a larger than life character whose rhymes add to his mystic. He’s like a white Rick Ross, but instead of taking you to the fantasy world of Ross’ drug kingpin, Bronson takes you to whatever world he is in. Lines like, “Husband pay me 10 stacks to f**k his b**ch/ Hand up her ass like a muppet baby, its crazy, while she do a buck-eight in a mustard Mercedes,” make no damn sense, but who cares—his delivery and confidence is so effortless you forget you just rapped along to it.
The Brooklyn band Party Supplies collaborated with Bronson on Blue Chips 2 and came along for the tour as well—both opening for and backing Bronsolino. The duo gave Bronson a bouncy jazz sound that caters perfectly to an intimate venue like Howard Theatre, which opened in 1910 and some of the tracks sound like they might have even worked then.
Maybe it’s his past as a chef shinning through, but Bronson knows the right ingredients to make one hell of a live show.
From the antics, which included disappearing into the crowd and reappearing on the upper level balcony to look down on his faithful disciples—he’s the most elusive 330-pound person ever—to throwing out his MicroG vaporizers to the crowd; he never loses your attention and the hour long performance feels completely satisfying. It’s like a dish that leaves you wanting more, but not hungry.
The encore performance of “Birds On A Wire” was the perfect topping to close out an amazing performance.
It’s easy to forget over the course of his show that he’s only been doing this rap thing for a few years, validating the opening line from “The Symbol”, “In only one year, considered as a veteran.” As he goes through cuts from Blue Chips 2, and sprinkles in some of his bigger hits from other projects including, “Strictly 4 My Jeeps,” “The Rockers” and “The Symbol,” you have the feeling he’s on the cusp of being one of the major names in hip-hop. He’s already knows how to command the stage and with a catalog that continues to build, it explains why Eminem has tapped him for future and past performances.
Don’t miss Bronson is you have the chance. His show is better than some of your favorite rappers who’ve been doing this for 10 years plus.