Clash is behind Parklife Festival’s ‘HudMo Presents…’ stage, beside an olive green Portakabin. A “No Smoking” sign adorns its open window; the same window that’s bellowing smoke as if a volcanic eruption is imminent.
We're waiting to catch up with Action Bronson – catching odd glimpses of Joey Bada$$ and Bronson-collaborator Statik Selektah through the haze – when we're approached by his day-to-day manager Dro Greindstein, who requests that we do him a favour by avoiding any obvious questions.
“No, ‘What’s your favourite dish?’,” he offers as an example. And with some corners of the press clinging to the fact that the Queens rapper, born Ariyan Arslani, used to be a chef, we can't blame him.
Clash is late meeting Bronson – or, rather, Bronson is late meeting Clash. He apologies for the incident that’s set our time together back in the schedule: the loss, and subsequent recovery and return by a fan, of his iPhone.
“This is invaluable to me,” he says. “It has all of my music on there, and a whole list of numbers with full names. I don’t know what would have happened if I didn't get it back. I usually put it on the DJ table before I go into the crowd, but I must have forgotten.”
Venturing into his audience has become a staple of Bronson’s live sets. His fans douse him in beer as he wades in, dissecting the throng, reaching out to everyone without missing a bar. Greindstein explains that the MC doesn’t want to miss anyone out: “There could be a kid at the back, who can’t reach the front, and he wants to connect with them. He wants to show that he appreciates everybody.”
Says Bronson: “Going out into the crowd makes people happy. I don’t give a f*ck, I’m a New Yorker, and I'm going to go out there and do my thing regardless, for the people that are there for me.” Greindstein’s facial expression betrays concern, though, and he admits that Bronson’s audience adventures can scare him.