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Review Tue Jan 28 2014

Review: Action Bronson @ Metro 1/24


Photo credit - Complex

"If there are any rappers in the building, you have to keep trying," Action Bronson says in between drags of a joint in front of a sold out crowd at the Metro this past Friday. "You're not going to make it off of your first mixtape. I mean, look at me. What the fuck?!" Large and imposing in his physique, Action Bronson is the embodiment of recently vintage 90's NYC rap. Raised in Queens, Ariyan Arslani grew up listening to rappers such as Nas, Mobb Deep, Cam'ron, Big Pun, DMX, and of course, the Wu Tang Clan. He grew up idolizing these artists, but never thought he'd be one of them. His intended path was something different, he wanted to be a chef.

The details are fuzzy, but it looks like he went to culinary school and worked various kitchen jobs while climbing his way up the ladder of the NYC food scene. According to various sources he was a sous chef at a steakhouse and worked as a cook for the New York Mets? Like I said, the details are kinda fuzzy. I personally dig the slightly mysterious aspect of his past, though. It make his persona more interesting to me. At some point, he started rapping. He gained traction with his music and found himself needing needed to choose between the mic or the kitchen. He chose the microphone. Several mixtapes and EPs later, he's finally arrived.

Action Bronson looks amazed on stage at the Metro. He takes another drag of his joint as he looks around the theatre taking in the sight of all the people who have come to see him. It's only a quick glance as his DJ keeps the momentum with beats of deep funk and vintage soul that Bronson rhymes over with disarming wit and dexterity.

"From having money on my mind to having money in my pocket. Bone marrow roasted. Spread it on the rosemary bread. Lightly toasted. Drizzle with the vinaigrette," he tells the crowd at some point throughout the night with one of his amazingly intricate food raps he's become infamous for. Suddenly, Chance the Rapper appears out of nowhere for a surprise cameo during the song they did together, "NaNa." They appear so jovial on stage, rapping together like good friends in a subtle competition of one upmanship. Just as quickly as he arrives, Chance disappears into the night as Bronson goes on to perform some material from his recent mixtape Blue Chips 2 as well as some of his more well known singles, such as "Strictly 4 My Jeeps." At some point, Bronson breaks the fourth wall and starts rapping in the crowd, legitimately getting lost in mass of people in the process. "Where is the stage?!" Bronson yells out as his DJ plays Billy Joel's "Movin Out," which the crowd went absolutely ballistic for; a surprise highlight of the night. Eventually, he finds his way on stage and finishes his set.

As I walked out of the Metro, I looked at twitter on my phone and discovered that Bronson had been at Publican earlier that day eating some fresh uni. I smiled and thought to myself that sounds like the best Action Bronson lyric that hasn't be written yet.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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