“I’m in Miami right now so the morning regime is get up, smoke wax out of my custom G-Pen vaporizer, walk around the beach, have a bowl of cereal with a banana in it, and just enjoy the weather,” says Action Bronson. It’s two hours before today’s noon release of the rapper’s new Rare Chandeliers album, a 14-track free download cut in tandem with the producer Alchemist, and Bronson is enjoying the last spoils of the Miami life before hopping on an airplane and heading home to Flushing, Queens. By the time he lands, Rare Chandeliers will have dropped and helped further the burgeoning legend of Bronson: The project showcases more of the rapper’s masterly flow, his delightfully uncouth sense of humor, and is infused with his now patented smorgasbord of fine-dining food references. It also features 2012’s most inspired cover illustration, complete with an alligator toting a machine gun strapped to its neck, a purple-robed wizard, and Bam-Bam Bronson sporting headgear made out of the head of a wolf. So before Bronson hit the airport, we decided to chop it up.
Download Rare Chandeliers here and read along!
The introduction to Rare Chandeliers has your associate Big Body Bes talking about the days when you used to steal from supermarkets.
Yeah, it’s ridiculous. At the end of the day, you just go in and do that, go in and do that.
Did you ever get caught?
Of course, I’ve been caught doing many things. [Big Body Bes interjects and claims that “Bronson definitely has his picture hanging up in some supermarket back rooms!”]
What advice would you give to anyone caught stealing from a supermarket?
You try to talk your way out of it and then you realize that when that doesn’t work you hold your head and keep it moving. Whatever happens, happens. Then you call up fuckin’ Mr. Yascowitz, and then Herman Yascowitz gets involved and — boom, boom, boom! — he gets you out of there and you’re back on the street. He slams the book but I’m a free man.
How much do you need to keep Mr. Yascowitz on retainer?
You know, you gotta have a least a hundred in the stash just for the lawyer if you’re doing something halfway useful with your life.
Talking about money, on the track “Michael Vick” you say this “getting money shit is simple.” When was the first time you realized you had a talent for that?
Yeah, the first time I pretty much got paid to rap. It was like, “Wow, did that just happen?” Now it’s easy. That first time was a person from Australia who paid me for my verse when my leg was broken back in February of last year.
How much did you get for that verse?
I think it was $750.
What did you do with the money?
Shit, I held on to it. I either did that or bought weed, you know? Straight up, I needed weed ’cause I was laid up with a broken leg.
So how would you advise someone to invest their last $50?
So with 50 bucks, it’s a start. You can go cop humungous 20s of haze from uptown, come back to the ‘hood, break ’em in half and sell them and make your money back. Then you keep on going until you have a little stash. Or you can buy an hour of studio time, try and create a hit song in an hour, and there you go. [Pauses] I mean, you can make a hit song in 15 minutes. I don’t know about someone else’s song, but songs that people like of mine, I’ve created in 15 minutes or less.
The cover art of Rare Chandeliers has had a great reaction. What album artwork are you a fan of yourself?
Well there’s this one… What’s the asshole’s name? Fuck, I can’t think of the asshole’s name right now. [Pauses] Barry Manilow! There’s this one Barry Manilow cover and it’s just, you know, it’s just a photograph of him and the lighting is really funny and he has this outfit on. That’s my favorite album cover right now. It’s too fuckin’ funny. I’m gonna try and recreate it. The shit is amazing.
Do you know which Barry Manilow album it is?
I don’t know the record. I searched Barry Manilow and I searched the images. It’s genius.
Can I ask why you were searching the Internet for Barry Manilow?
I don’t even know. Party Supplies put me on, naturally. He was like, “Yo, you gotta see this fuckin’ picture.” He’s a crazy kid so, yeah, it’s definitely crazy. But I love like psychedelic covers, honestly, that old shit. When you see the cover you know it’s special. It’s hard to describe all these things. It’s hard to describe art.
What was the time you saw a rap album with great cover art?
I don’t even remember the last time I bought an album, honestly. I’m into the Kool G Rap shit. I don’t even know though. I like psychedelic and funky covers. I don’t even think hip-hop covers are ill. I think they’re trash.
Alchemist produced Rare Chandeliers and you were also featured on his recent Yacht Rock EP. Did you help come up with the yacht rock concept?
That’s all Alchemist, that’s his project he was doing with the sunglasses he had coming out. He sent me the beat one day, told me he needed me to be on it and it was a given. Then when I heard the whole project together, it was unreal. It was like a movie. It’s a whole expedition.
How important are the white windbreakers you reference in your rhyme to the yacht rock movement? Very. It’s real douchey to have all white on. All-white windbreakers is just straight-up douchebag. You know they’re snobby if that’s what they’re rockin’.
On Rare Chandeliers you mention dining at Mario Batali’s Eataly emporium.
Yeah, I am a fan of Eataly. It’s a wonderful place. It saw it, I walked in, and I was like, wow, finally someone gets it! And he actually made it happen.
You’ve mentioned Batali in your songs before. Have you met him?
Not yet, not at all. But I heard he’s a raging cokehead so we’d probably get along. My friends would like to get money off him!
How would a cook-off between you and Batali go down?
I would probably end up trying to stab him or something because he’s so much better than everyone. I’m a fan of his food. It’s just the way that he uses the ingredients and the ingredients he chooses to use and the way it’s presented. It’s very simplistic but elegant.