It’s true that Bronson, whose lyrics are unabashedly profane, gleefully traffics in the tropes of his genre, frequently citing his appetites for weed, morally dubious sexual activity, and money, and expounding upon his ambition and success. But what’s truly fueled his ascent has been his passion for food, which manifests itself constantly in lyrics with an erudition that would charm a Lucky Peach reader.
Food appears on Bronson tracks in every form imaginable. It pops up in list form, as a menu (Jewish platters, kreplach soups, and sable); in exhortations (Barbecue the venison, pair it with a great stout); as a signifier of status (Never fuckin’with the crab that’s pre-lump); as inspiration and vehicle for simile (The Amarone got me spinning like a gyro); and so on. Whenever a new track is released, food magazines dutifully examine his references to eating like talmudists performing exegesis.
This month, the mischief-making, polpette-shaped gourmand’s online food series, F*ck, That’s Delicious, made its way to cable as one of the flagship shows on Viceland, the new online television channel created by the filmmaker Spike Jonze and Vice Media. In many ways, this development is evidence of the wild moment when food and rap have both become prime cultural commodities.
“It feels like it was meant to be,” Bronson said over a plate of salumi. “Rap obviously has been the rock star, and the chef has been the rock star for a bunch of years now. You could listen to a bunch of people talk about food that rap well, but they don’t know shit. I do both.”
In F*ck, That’s Delicious, Bronson and his merry cohort of musical collaborators wander the globe in search of good food in between concerts and other (capital H) High-jinks. Part of what makes this an alluring departure from the countless shows with a similar conceit is that it’s so obviously unscripted. (Most, if not all, of the filming takes place during or after Bronson and his crew have just smoked, vaped, ingested, or dabbed cannabis.)
They eat, they smoke, they perform, they philosophize, they sign autographs on pizza crusts, they run into admiring chefs and kitchen workers. The clash of personality and haphazard improv registers somewhere on a guy-heavy spectrum between Duck Dynasty and The Rat Pack’s Ocean’s 11.
What helps is that Bronson has the charisma and star power of a P.T. Barnum. He’s the consummate paradox—a quick-witted, quirky, wholly authentic huckster.
He’s also hard to look away from. With countless tattoos, deep blue eyes, and high cheekbones that he’s never been afraid to reference, Bronson also sports a long, majestic trademark beard that he’s described in verses as “golden brown just like a biscuit” and looking “like Uday and Qusay,” the deceased sons of Saddam Hussein.
In the context of the show, it’s entrancing to observe strangers and fans encounter this massive force of nature. In the first episode, Bronson and his entourage roll into Washington, D.C.’s Rose’s Luxury, recently hyped as America’s best new restaurant, for smoked trout and fried oysters, and patter about food with the chef. Later, they infiltrate a humble roadside joint in Atlanta for some barbecue ribs before heading off to the beach in Miami.