Action Speaks Louder
The rapper’s new book Stoned Beyond Belief will “hit” shelves just in time for 420, with more than 200 pages of Bronson’s pot proselytizing.
We’ll always have a special place in our heart for jumbo-size rapper Action Bronson, if for no other reason than he was arrested for smoking pot onstage during a performance last year. Bronson builds on his doobie-ous legacy with the release of his new book Stoned Beyond Belief, a 220-page love letter chronicling his fondness for the chronic.
Action Bronson has a lot on his plate these days, most of it food-related. His Viceland TV series The Untitled Action Bronson Show often includes a celebrity chef, and his 2017 cookbook F*ck That’s Delicious was a New York Times bestseller, inspired by his Viceland show of the same name.
The bro-centric Vice demographic seems to be the target audience of Stoned Beyond Belief, which Bronson co-authored with James Beard Award-winning Brooklyn food writer Rachel Wharton. The book is a stream-of-consciousness collection of recipes, marijuana anecdotes, and Action’s humorous personal thinkpieces on how weed made him the man he is today.
There are some standout chapters in Stoned Beyond Belief where Bronson’s foul-mouthed magic hits the right note. For instance, a chapter titled “How to Hide Weed” contains the following wisdom: “Put it where they’re not going to find it: Between your nuts or your ass. Never inside your asshole — it’s only weed. It’s not crack, it’s not a gun. You’ll just go to jail for the night; it’s not worth penetration.”
Another fast food-themed chapter is pretty amusing, and you’ll wish it were longer. But Stoned Beyond Belief is a collection of one- and two-page chapters, some of which have little evident reason to be included in a marijuana book.
There are quite a few recipes and food descriptions, but most are not cannabis-infused, and some are not even that novel. You’ll get Action’s personal Grilled Cheese recipe, for instance, which specifically calls for Wonder Bread and Land O’Lakes butter. “There is nothing that melts better than Land O’Lakes,” he advises. This Grilled Cheese recipe calls for “Ketchup to taste,” which I hope is just a regional New York way of enjoying grilled cheese.
There are a handful of interesting dishes, like Jamaican Beef Patty with Cheese or Wagyu Steak, but it’s unclear why these recipes are in a marijuana book. They seem like mere leftovers from his previous cookbook. We’d love to see more drugged-up recipes, like the one included for a Psychedelic Mushroom Salad.
You’ll find a couple incredibly handy chapters with technical advice on How to Press a Dab, or Using a French Press to Make Activated Vape Oil for Cooking. But these will leave you wanting more details, as the book seems not to know which chapters are useful to readers and which deserve more attention.
Other chapters on Knives, Sacred Geometry, and Crystals — I had not taken Action Bronson for a crystals guy — seem out of place in a cannabis book. And the hodgepodge visual style of Stoned Beyond Belief’s layout changes with each page, with some schemes so gauche they might literally hurt your eyes to look at.
The throwback stories to the outlaw days of illegal weed are the funnest segments. A chapter about driving while high will resonate with anyone who’s done that dirty deed. But this book is a meandering, attention-deficit mishmash that is both visually and narratively confusing.
Stoned Beyond Belief is at its most entertaining when Action Bronson simply rambles through his profanity-laced marijuana tales. A number of the comic-book sections and images add a dash of additional delight.
But this is a scattershot marijuana memoir that is probably only worth the $27.50 hardcover cost to someone who knows and appreciates Action Bronson’s unapologetically macho sense of humor. If you’re jonesing for a cannabis book as the high holiday of 420 approaches, you can find more useful and edifying cannabis cookbooks or cannabis culture manifestos out there.
Stoned Beyond Belief, Abrams Publishing, $27.50 hardcover, audibletreats.com