Photo: Jeff MinAction Bronson’s been called a lot of things – The Chocolatier, Bronsalinio, BamBam – but the one thing he can’t be called is a carbon copy of anything. Sure he draws comparisons to Ghostface, but the Flushing Queens native is an original.

Even before he hit the stage of Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago, the aroma of weed caked the place. And by the time he emerged, blunt in hand of course, the crowd was already lit. Right off the bat he ran through a number of classics, appeasing to diehards who knew just about every lyric in his catalog. The familiar Dr. Lecter was his main well, but of the bunch none hit harder than “Barry Horowitz,” a quick hitter that leaves no room for fluff:

It’s Barry Horowitz rap, I pat myself on the back
Don’t fake the funk on a nasty dunk, Shaq I attack
Close the window to your soul, weed inside my lungs burn
These old suckers gettin’ placed into a young urn

Photo: Jeff MinIn between songs he riffed with the crowd, acting like a stand-up comic. He had an anecdote about what city had the best weed to which he proclaimed that Chicago’s was ‘eh’. The crowd took the friendly jab in stride, and within seconds blunts came raining in from all directions. To show his affable nature he passed each blunt back into the crowd, a gesture that had him repeating the mantra, “if you got drugs smoke it.”

Bronson went about his set, never once breaking character or relinquishing his leverage as the man-in-charge – high as a kite and in total control. Even when the predictable “Ghostface!” shouts came in, he didn’t even bother acknowledging it. Instead he showed what he can do as a lyricist, attacking songs with hefty vigor and ruthless tenacity. He even took on Riff Raff‘s verse on “Bird On a Wire,” delivering it with surprisingly nimble dexterity:

Nouns, owls, Aston Martins
Sparkin’ one in valet parkin, loan sharkin’
Hopin’ that my days days don’t get darkened

Out of breath and barely coherent, Bronson still finished the set strong. It was an impressive display of wordplay, and it didn’t seem to settle in with the crowd what he pulled off. He played Riff Raff’s character without flaw – a glimpse into how he approaches his own larger than life persona. All the shit-talking, and all the posturing was in good fun, nothing to be taken too seriously.

At one point, to likely get his bearings straight, he opened the forum for questions. He deflected each one with shrewd one-liners. He didn’t even bother promoting his forthcoming material. All he did was smoke blunts, make demands (asking for a soda and actually getting one), and go to work on verses that he’s practiced a thousand times over – an attitude summed up best on “Shiraz:”

Eyes blue put the children money in the bank though
Giuseppe Franco, take the cash and tango
I’m straight stoned – Sly, thank you
Bye, peace, one, fuck you