Written by Shugabooga
Action Bronson put me in a very precarious position the day he finally got tired of being asked about Ghostface Killa comparisons and spoke out on ESPN.
As a lifelong Wu head I am know in my circles as one of the first people to dabble in the Wu arts where I came from. I have always spoken about them the way basketball fans talk about Michael. There will never be another. They will never be duplicated. With apologies to Outkast- Wu Tang is the greatest. Of all time.
The first time I heard Bronson, I’ll admit I thought it was Ghost. The sound resemblance is uncanny. It was reminiscent of the Shyne/Biggie debate back in the day. After I got used to Shyne sounding like Biggie and moved passed it, I really liked Shyne’s music. You realized that there were clear nuances in his style that differentiated him from B.I.G. and you could appreciate them individually. They didn’t have to be bundled. At the same time admiration for either didn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
I was riding the wave of ambiguity for a long time because Bronson wasn’t “big” enough (not something he hears often, and no pun intended. Also no pun intended on the “big” and “pun” combo). But all of a sudden, Action landed a record with Atlantic records and was the sweetheart of the industry. Heading into SXSW 2015 there was no hotter artist with a bigger buzz than Bronsolino. With that came a rigorous press junket. With that came countless comparisons to Ghost.
Finally he snapped. And it was a hard day for me.
In all fairness he had called Ghostface a “great” and said 50 million times that it was an honor to be compared to him. But then that day on ESPN came where he said Ghost don’t “rap like this no more” and that he needs “something” ie: a hit record to re-establish himself. The whole time I’m like “NOOOOOOOOOOO”, but at the same time I got it. He was tired of playing nice.
Ghost was immediately done with playing nice. My goodness- google the video response. I bet Bronson just stayed home with a gallon of Hagen Das and a whole lot of weed and re-evaluated EVERYTHING.
The whole thing culminated at Sean Price’s funeral when Papa Wu approached a visibly shook Bronson and told him to stand down. Thankfully no one was hurt and all sides moved on quickly.
The problem is most Wu Tang diehards began to call out Bronson and made it very hard to be a vocal fan of both.
Well I am here to tell you that among my top 10 favorite rappers of all time you will find Ghostface Killah.
And if he’s not already top 10, he’s damn close and might get there after this release: Action Bronson.
Bronson was right- Ghost hasn’t made hits in a while! The last truly exciting Ghost project to me was Apollo Kids. That was 7 years ago. It’s been a minute.
Bronson is fresh. Yes he sounds like Ghost. But they couldn’t be more different. Ghost said things we didn’t get because they were metaphors for a dark, underworld of crime.
Bronson says things we don’t understand because he is trippin’ on acid and wrestling a grizzly bear on an Indian reservation while an Asian stripper waxes his back. Okay not really, but that’s what his verses sound like. And it’s fun.
So when he samples “The Fat Boys Are Back” on his track “Let Me Breathe”, I get excited. It’s okay to have fun. It’s okay if every lyric isn’t a Jay Z level quotable. It’s even okay to sound like Ghostface (you just can’t blow down on him during an interview.) What Bronson does for me is make me laugh and make me smile. His music is a good time. I was blessed to interview him and literally every answer was “I just want to make money so I can take care of my kids bro.” His shows are funny, he’s always doing something to enjoy life. It’s really hard for me to not root for him! And this song embodies every single aspect of that persona!
I’m officially making it okay to like Action Bronson and Ghostface Killah at the same time. 7/10/17. Book It.
You can download “Let Me Breathe” by Action Bronson here: