Rapper and chef Action Bronson, also known as Ariyan Arslani, is one of a kind. Throughout his career, Bronson has made it his personal mission to be true to himself instead of trying to please the masses or giving in to peer pressure. This has worked for the musician, who has somehow carved a niche for himself in a super competitive industry by simply being himself.
According to All Music, Bronson was born in New York City to a family that was already well-established in the culinary space, something that inevitably led to Bronson joining the food industry as an adult. Bronson also decided to explore music at some point, experimenting with his work and rapping his way to fame and glory. He gave his fans a glimpse into his views on being original when he told Interview Magazine in 2015, “I am totally different from everybody else already, so I just have to be myself. You can’t follow the pack in this type of game.”
As illustrated by Crack, Bronson started making his way into the music industry back in 2011, experimenting with the underground scene before making it as an internet phenomenon, known for his unique take on music.
Action Bronson got into food as a kid
Action Bronson was always fascinated by food and its endless potential. As per a Daily Cardinal piece, he decided to pull off a rebellious move as a teenager and quit high school, realizing that a conventional path was not his cup of tea. Post that, he dove straight into the restaurant industry, relying on everything that he’d picked up while observing his folks in the kitchen.
According to Kulture Hub, Bronson was majorly influenced by his mother’s and grandmother’s cooking techniques and sought inspiration from their dishes. This was a deep-rooted passion that was evident even when Bronson was a child, and it was natural that he decided to take it further as an adult.
Additionally, Bronson’s family ran a Mediterranean eatery, something that definitely worked in his favor when he was trying to get familiar with the industry and practice his skills. Bronson didn’t stop there, though, and did receive formal training in the culinary arts to make sure that he wasn’t missing out on anything. Of course, this happened before Bronson became well-known as a gourmet chef in New York City.
He's a pragmatic cook
Action Bronson has chosen to be a practical chef as opposed to someone who is a purist and makes things harder than they’re supposed to be. How? Well, according to Thrasher Magazine, Bronson has vouched for microwaves and how useful they can be in terms of getting everyday cooking right. He told the magazine, “Microwaves are very useful things. You have to know their limits and what they can do. A microwave is a very effective way to heat things up very quickly.” Obvious, right?
Bronson added that if you want to get something done super fast, a microwave can be the best solution. His example is super relatable too — he cites wanting to heat up chocolate in seconds and using a microwave to get the job done. Bronson said, “There’s a lot of benefits to using one [a microwave]. You just have to know how to use it.”
Action Bronson has worked hard to be healthier
Action Bronson, after battling health issues for years, decided to do something about it in 2020. According to a piece by Men’s Health, Bronson lost a staggering amount of weight — approximately 125 pounds. He figured that it was time for a reality check and got to work — he followed a strict fitness routine coupled with a dedicated diet plan. He explained, “This journey started way long ago. I was born heavy. I was a heavy child. This transformation was long overdue.”
For him, the primary challenge was understanding portion control better, something that he had definitely neglected in the past. What really served as motivation for Bronson was the birth of his son in 2019. As he explained, “You always want to be around for your family.”
He knew that neglecting his health was no longer an option. This meant major changes to his daily routine, such as exercising regularly and embracing challenging high-intensity workouts. He also educated himself on the nuances of nutrition. He said, “You’re playing quarterback with your own body. It’s all about decisions.”
Action Bronson's love for cooking is very much intact
Action Bronson’s flourishing career as a chef experienced a major setback when he met with an accident. As reported by Beat, Bronson slipped and fell on a kitchen floor, breaking his leg. This seriously affected his plans, and he turned to music instead. However, it’s true that Bronson never quite gave up on his love for cooking and remains an accomplished chef to this day.
Bronson even shared delicious details from his kitchen in an interview with GQ last year when he revealed that he made several dishes while isolating during the pandemic. One of the meals that he prepared was octopus, replete with olive oil and garlic. He also experimented with Colombian-style soup for his family.
Bronson also said that cooking simply never fails to bring him joy. He said, “Cooking is instant gratification. That’s what I enjoy about it. You either know someone likes what you made — you immediately see their eyes light up with joy — or you know the truth.”
Action Bronson claims to be misunderstood
Action Bronson has stated that he is simply not perceived correctly when it comes to his public image. For instance, he told Rolling Stone that he’s been accused of being a misogynist, something that he vehemently denies. When he was asked to talk about something that’s often misunderstood about him, he said, “When people call me a misogynist. I respect and love women totally. Sometimes I use words that aren’t pleasant, but I’m talking about a certain type of person. Why be offended by anything? This is art.”
As per a Pitchfork piece, he also ran into more trouble in 2016 when he was accused by students from George Washington University of writing misogynistic and transphobic lyrics. The rapper decided to issue an apology and said, “… I can’t continue to walk around with the thought that people are thinking these things about me that are far from who I really am.” He added that he recognizes the fact that he’s not a perfect person, and that he’s trying to be a better person.
His onscreen presence was not exactly tame
One of Action Bronson’s most popular gigs was a stint with VICE. He worked on a food-based show called F**k, That’s Delicious. Bronson wasn’t exactly an easy-going presence on screen. In fact, he was known for throwing around cuss words without a second thought. He even had an explanation for being so open on TV. He said, “There are no other words to describe what you just ate. You just have to curse and be vulgar and violent, you know what I mean.”
He also said that the prospect of being on the show was an exciting experience, something that he had been waiting to do for a long while. Bronson said, “I’m still doing some research on where we should be going. I want to find the good sh**, like street fair food, no bulls***.”
Also, the rapper told Crack that he was exposed to a lot of foul language as a child. He said, “I know curse words in many languages, just from growing up in Queens.”
Action Bronson likes experimenting as a rapper
Action Bronson’s rap is not like his peers’ work. He enjoys experimenting on the job and doing unusual things, such as making music about food in a bid to express his love for the latter (via the Rolling Stone). He proudly proclaimed that he’s different from others in the industry and said, “Nobody raps about food like I do. I rap about fine dishes — things that only real foodies know about.”
He added that one of the major factors that gave him the confidence to take the leap from working as a full-time chef to being a musician was being around friends who chased music relentlessly. He told himself that if they could pull it off, he could do the same. As per the New Yorker, Bronson used rap as a way to bounce back after his leg injury. His first album, Well Done, was made when his leg was on the mend.
Plus, Bronson told The Guardian that music and food can serve as great unifiers. He said, “Music and food go hand in hand. The dish in the middle of the table is like the song you put on for everyone to start grooving to.”
He feels very strongly about not being restricted by others
As a rapper and an artist, Action Bronson guards his freedom of speech rather seriously and likes to make sure that he doesn’t compromise. As per High Snobiety, it upsets Bronson when people try to stop someone famous from speaking their mind. He doesn’t approve. He gave a simple example, saying that if an NFL or NBA player has strong opinions on something, they’re told to focus on their game and keep their mouths shut.
He reckons that this happens on account of the fact that people are majorly insecure and try to blame others. The rapper said, “You don’t have a mind for yourself; don’t think that I don’t. Don’t take away my voice and what I f***ing have to say, cos I’m gonna say that sh**. I’ll do what I want.”
He emphasized that he doesn’t get deterred by public opinions and relies on his instincts to chase the things he wants to pursue.
Action Bronson is down to earth
Action Bronson may be a celebrity, but he has stayed true to his roots. He told The Guardian that he doesn’t believe in only sticking to fancy places and likes to keep all his dining options open. Bronson said, “I’m not a snob. I didn’t grow up on fine dining and I love everything.” He explained that he’s as comfortable in a shady eatery as he is in a fine dining establishment. For him, the experience matters the most.
Additionally, Bronson is also fairly approachable as an artist and doesn’t turn away his fans. For example, as highlighted in a Crack profile, Bronson agreed to pose for pictures with numerous fans during the interview, even while he was busy finishing his meal. Bronson said that he doesn’t forget to be grateful for the love he receives from his fans and doesn’t mind taking out a little time for them. He explained, “… The fact that people take the time out to recognise what I do, you gotta be thankful … Everyone take a picture, we have a good time, boom, we go about our business.”
Action Bronson has experimented with graffiti
Action Bronson is not just a chef and a rap artist. He has revealed in the past that he has turned to graffiti to feel inspired, especially when it comes to music. According to Hip Hop DX, Bronson spent years trying out new tricks as a graffiti artist. He explained that this served as the foundation for his hip-hop career and made it possible for him to connect with many friends. Bronson said, “I incorporate it [graffiti] into the music, yeah. … If it wasn’t for graffiti, there wouldn’t be any me, any Rap. That’s pretty the much the basis of it all.”
He also said that being an only child meant that he had to entertain himself by relying on his imagination and creating graffiti. This, in turn, majorly helped him evolve as an artist later in life and explore his talent. He said that his viewpoint is not conventional, and that he looks at the world “differently.”
He's had health issues
As far as health problems are concerned, Action Bronson has had plenty of unfortunate experiences. For example, he once found himself battling incredible pain from a hernia while working on a shoot for his Vice series. As reported by Billboard, Bronson had to opt for emergency surgery in 2015. A source close to Bronson said, “The emergency surgery was due to complications from ongoing hernia issues from Bronson’s powerlifting days. He’s doing great and is in good spirits.”
This wasn’t the only time when Bronson had to deal with hernia troubles. The rapper told the Miami Times that he had to get his gall bladder removed a long time ago and found himself struggling to stay in control after experiencing an incredible amount of pain while working in Miami because of his hernia. He said, “I was shooting a video … and just couldn’t stand up straight. Ended up going to the hospital and was admitted overnight.”
Plus, according to Men’s Health, Bronson had dealt with a bunch of issues previously, such as eczema and asthma. He was also pre-diabetic at one point. As per the musician, these were avoidable problems.
Action Bronson has spoken about his drug use
Action Bronson is no stranger to drugs and has talked about his fondness for marijuana quite often. Basically, he is fairly open about his views on the topic. He told Variety in an interview that he’d love it if weed can be freely accessible to everyone. The rapper added that he appreciates the drug for its medicinal properties. Bronson said, “… The main goal is that it’s medicine and it’s there for one and all to enjoy and love, to be treated properly.”
According to DJ Booth, the rapper has had his share of negative experiences with drugs as well, particularly with Xanax. He recalled a frightening incident and said, “I just remember I took a Xanax one time and went on a f***ing plane to Australia, 16 hours, I … almost couldn’t get up.” He added that his leg was swollen, and he was passed out for a long while. When he woke up, he found himself struggling to walk. He said, “I was knocked out the whole time, they thought I was f***ing dead.”
Action Bronson has a complicated relationship with fans
While Action Bronson does appreciate his fans, he’s managed to get into controversies with some of them, especially during his performances. According to the Music Times, he’s been known to occasionally get violent with fans onstage. Bronson said that he wouldn’t cause harm to anyone in life. He tried to explain that when he sees fans getting to close to him when he’s performing, he perceives that as a threat. He said, “I’m just a gentle human being, but people run up on — if someone ran up on your set right now and tried — who knows what they’re trying to do? They’re coming with open arms, I know that as a chokehold.”
That said, Bronson could think of a specific experience that upset him greatly and scared him. A fan got too close to the rapper during a performance in Europe, and he ended up being thrown off the stage and hitting the ground. The rapper was briefly afraid. He said, “All you heard was a thud, I thought that the kid was paralyzed for sure.” Fortunately, the fan didn’t sustain any serious injuries during the incident.
Bronson has also been pretty generous when it comes to praising his fans, though. He told Crack that as far as he is concerned, his fans are really smart and have good taste. He thinks that they’re able to appreciate humor and culture at the same time.
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