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Action Bronson kicks it with the Edmonton crowd [Review]

Edmonton, ABAction Bronson. It’s definitely not his real name. But the Queens rapper proved he was no gimmicks, either. He rose to the occasion on the second night of the 2 High 2 Die Tour at Union Hall in Edmonton, even though he was without the support of his tour mate, Danny Brown, who was denied entry at the Canadian border.

(We reported on similar border issues Brown faced almost a full year earlier. Border Issues: A$AP Rocky, Danny Brown, Hopsin denied entry into Canada [Article])

Danny Brown’s presence, while missed, was not a requirement for the night. Much was made of the 2 High 2 Die Tour. Without Danny’s goofball manic rapper presence – the ying to Bronson’s calm yen, if you will – the question was whether or not Action Bronson could effectively headline an entire packed Union Hall on his lonesome. The answer was a definite yes.

Action Bronson kicks it with the Edmonton crowd [Review] -HipHopCanada

Bronson came onto the stage dressed in a single large shirt, flanked by his DJ cutting away in the background. Bronson wasted no time getting into it. He played a quick medley of verses before digging in and performing a Saaab Stories-heavy set. For a dude who suffered a back injury not too long ago, Action Bronson showed no signs of it holding him back. Bronson had no hype man to back him up, so it fell to him to get the crowd bumping. He rose to the challenge and successfully commanded the crowd’s attention with his aggressively bodacious rhymes, which were delivered clear and and with purpose. Bronson came up to the crowd frequently and sent high-fives and palm slaps to the front of the audience with a grin on his face. He had no problem playing the role of the court jester, too. He laughed at a dude who got caught by security for smoking a reefer. “Smoke it all,” he jeered, as security pulled the man away and small waves of laughter rippled throughout the crowd.

Some may claim preference to Action Bronson over Danny Brown because Bronson is more of a classicist. It’s not a bad argument. There’s enough boom-bap in some of his Saaab Stories bangers (shout out to “Strictly 4 My Jeeps,” which destroyed in the packed club) to keep the old hip-hop heads satisfied. And Bronson’s nimble, confident flow definitely recalls ’94 Brooklyn. Yet it’s hard to say if any of the rappers from that time would be as brash or vivacious as Bronson is in his songs.

The elephant in the room was finally addressed when Bronson acknowledged the absence of his tour mate by dedicating his monstrous posse cut “1Train” verse to Brown. By this point, there was nothing Action Bronson could do wrong. He concluded his set by walking into the crowd. He finished his verse acapella to the sound of cheers, and many an enthusiastic, “Woo.” He asked attendees to buy some t-shirts and to hang out. The crowd followed Bronson outside to where he stood with a towel adorned over his head. He ended the night by signing autographs and CDs, while kicking it with the local Edmonton crowd.

This is the same man who bragged he was already considered a veteran, after only one year of stardom. At Union Hall, Action Bronson proved he could go far and beyond that.

Review by Jibril Yassin for HipHopCanada
Photography by Sarah Sussman for HipHopCanada

Twitter: @ActionBronson

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Sarah Jay

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Sarah Jay is based in Calgary and works as a freelance journalist and photographer. Sarah is also a former A&R talent scout for the Universal Music Scouting Program, and runs a vintage store during the day. Sarah has juried the JUNO Awards, The Polaris Music Prize, and The Prism Prize. She has been fortunate enough to interview and photograph some of hip-hop's greatest influencers including Future, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Maestro Fresh Wes, Shad, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, and more. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @ThisIsSarahJay

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