Words and photos by Eric Diep
Action Bronson is running late. We’re on a double decker bus in front of the W Hotel in downtown Austin, waiting for Bronsolino to come down and start this excursion that involves a tour of the city’s attractions, a preview of his new album Mr. Wonderful and a free meal cooked by the man himself. It’s about an hour passed the scheduled start time of 3 PM, but no one seems to care. There’s free beer.
When Bronson and his crew (The Alchemist, Party Supplies, Meyhem Lauren and Big Body Bes) finally get on the bus, he admitted that he was a little confused. “I’m not sure what we’re doing here,” he said. “We’re gonna ride around, listen to my album and smoke.” After lighting a sizable blunt that he passed around to everyone, he gave one more warning before cueing his DJ to play Mr. Wonderful. “I’m not gonna talk, that’s bullshit,” he said, referring to other rappers who have to explain their music track by track. Once we get going, the sounds of his album blasting through the speakers attract the attention of pedestrians, some of whom recognize him. For Bronson, it’s all about letting fans enjoy the experience—even if it’s a public-wide listening.
Mr. Wonderful, due out on March 23 via Vice Records/Atlantic, is a long time coming for Bronson. Previously, the Queens rapper has built up his fanbase and popularity through a discography that includes underground classics like 2011’s Dr. Lecter, 2012’s Rare Chandeliers (with The Alchemist), and the Blue Chips series (with Party Supplies). His debut album firmly establishes the new Bronson sound, which is filled with chill vibes, hometown pride and over-the-top lyrics. Songs like “The Rising” and “Falconry” are quintessential Queens rap anthems. He’s also introspective and experimenting with singing on “City Boy Blues,” while key producers like Party Supplies and 88-Keys give the album an organic, live feel.
There’s never a dull moment when you’re hanging out with Action Bronson. Check out our photo recap of the afternoon above.
Watch Action Bronson’s Mr. Wonderful documentary here.