Here's how to win, plus an interview with Chris Folkerts, the guy who made these rad little things.
Action Bronson recently collaborated with Grenco Science to release a G-Pen, which is a cute little portable vaporizer, with which you can presumably smoke weed. This isn't the first time we've seen a rapper collaborate with a company to produce a custom product. Remember when 50 Cent got his own flavor of vitaminwater, Formula 50? Remember how the bottle was packaged in a platinum wrapper... because 50 Cent himself is a platinum rapper?
Anyway, now Bronson's got his own G-Pen, which is a cute little portable vaporizer, presumably made to smoke weed out of. Bronsolino's often been spotted pulling on his custom pen in airports, restaurants, and other public places where weed is usually not allowed. You can join in the fun by copping your own online, or at the merch table on his current tour with Cypress Hill... Or you can cut out the middle man and win one from us! That's right: We're giving away a bunch of Action Bronson G-Pens for you to smoke wax out of.
Here's how you win: all you have to do is fill out the form below, which'll automatically sign you up for the Noisey mailing list. Then just wait around and you'll probably win. We promise we won't spam you with garbage, because we're not jerks.
Recently, I sat down with Chris Folkerts, the owner of Grenco Science and the man responsible for bringing the G-Pen to the world, and got the "straight dope" behind his collaboration with Action. It turns out it was Bronsolino's idea from the jump, and Grenco was able to put the pieces all together once it was green-lit in only a week's time. And we also got the scoop on what other artists have embraced the G-Pen, and the future of the product, which includes more collaborations with hip-hop tree lovers, and some new technology they hope to release before Christmas that's guaranteed to have heads across the globe sending last minute kites to Santa. This interview is completely odorless.
Noisey: So for the blunt smokers and bong rippers out there who may be unfamiliar with the G-Pen, what's the science behind it?
Chris Folkerts: First of all, it's taking the word "smoking" out of your vocabulary, because you're not smoking, you're vaporizing. There's no combustion. You never use a lighter. That's the most basic way to explain it. It takes away the stigma of smelling, and having to go outside and smoke, and lighting it, or using a pipe. [The G Pen] has a total connotation that it's okay. It's cool, and it works. So there's novelty, and function. It's portable, it's odorless, and the health aspect of it is huge.
So how exactly does it work?
There's a heating element inside that's regulated by a battery which controls the temperature that vaporizes the oils. And that's the great thing about it. You're not inhaling all that plant matter.
But you need to know how to get that specific product, right? I mean, it's not as common as just being able to cop herb.
Yeah, but we do have ones coming out for herbs as well. It's been in the development stage for months, but getting a true vaporization on herbs as opposed to oils has been a much more difficult process. But we're there. We fly out to China next week to see three different prototypes that we've had developed. It's an American engineering company that we've been working with, and they just do their manufacturing over there. We should have an herb tank I'd like to say before this Christmas.
Wow, that's a game-changer.
Yeah. We've been able to make our wave with a niche market, but when you open up that portion of it, it turns [our market into] everyone. And we're also developing our own line of all natural herbs and oils. We don't want people to feel like they have to put just one thing in there. We want it to be a robust line.
Nice. So do you know how Action first got wind of the G Pen?
I know that a couple of fans had introduced it to him, but also SSUR, an artist who we're both friends with, dropped one on him too. So that's how I had known that he was introduced to it. Then, I was at Rock The Bells with Jim Jones. I'd met him previously at the Magic Convention in Vegas and he became a huge supporter of mine, taking me around and introducing me to everyone there. I met Alchemist at Rock The Bells and laid a pen on him. We exchanged info, and I said, "Once we're back in L.A., let's link up."
Sorry to interrupt, but what's it like rolling with Jim Jones?
Dude, it's wild. It's exactly what you'd think it is. He's just as wild in life as he is on CD. I went to this [studio session] with him in South Oakland [the morning after Rock The Bells], and it was all trap dudes. I was the only white boy in the room. And we smoked about 60 blunts inside this little studio. There's a video [from that session] where I'm sitting behind Jim and we're smoking and chilling inside there. We just popped inside there, he grabbed a quick ten racks, dropped a hot 16, and we were out. Then I rolled back to L.A. with him and his driver, and we partied the whole way and kicked it, and I ended up rolling with him to New York for Rock The Bells, too.
That's awesome. So take me back now to Alchemist. I assume he's the one who introduced you to Bronson?
Yeah, we had talked back and forth a couple of times, and he was like, "Yo, can you come through? My boy Action is here and I want you to meet him. So I'm like, "Absolutely." So of course I brought my custom glass over, and some of the nastiest stuff you've ever seen, and we sat there and chopped it up for like three hours straight. And it was just an instant [connection]. Me and dude are cut from the same cloth. We both value our people as family, and hold those dearest to us very highly. It was very evident from the inception that this was a good fit. And he was like, "We should do a custom Action pen." And I was like, "I think we should too." And it just progressed from there.
The next time I saw him was at Rock The Bells in New York. I saw him at the show, and then we went and kicked it at the Fool's Gold party. So we were kicking it outside, and it was me, Action, his boy Big Body, Smoke DZA, my attorney, and some other cats, and we're getting ready to go in, and the crowd rushed the gate and busted the fence down, and thousands of people started rolling in.
Oh yeah, I heard about that.
Yeah, I have video from it. So they started going in, and I was like, "Fuck it, I'm going in with them." So we [got passed security] and went through this tunnel to the opening where the Fool's Gold party was, and started walking through the crowd. And Action was just working the crowd, pulling out joints and handing them out, smoking with people, taking pictures. I knew right then that homie was a star, when I saw how he was with the people. Like, "Man, you have got it. Very few people have got it, but you've got it, dog."
And then we went backstage, and he was just like Jim, taking me around to meet everyone. A$AP [Rocky], Party Supplies, Flatbush Zombies, just like, "Yo, these are my people." And I had Pens on me, so I hooked them up. It was cool. And that's how we started. We started out essentially as fam.
So how did the customization finally happen?
He and I kept in contact about it, but his manager Dro made sure to be like, "Yo, let's really do this. We've got this Cypress Hill tour coming up, and we'd like to rep G Pen on that. Let's get some tour support." And at this point, Action was really blowing up the Pen. In the Noisey interview going Back and Forth with Al...
Right, where he's holding the two pens. I love that clip.
Yeah, it was so cool to see, and it was so natural. It's not like he was holding up a Samsung phone like, "This is the phone I use," and then taking a check. He wasn't getting paid. He was just doing that. That was him pushing something something that he believed in. And I have such admiration for that. So few people just do shit for nothing, and don't expect anything in return.
I immediately wanted to get back to him. I was like, "Yo, I have mad, mad respect for what you're doing for me. Yes, we will do the tour support, and let's make sure you have a custom Pen to take out with you." We really wanted to wrap it around the Rare Chandeliers release, but we didn't want to make anything weird for that. He had a really good situation [going with Vice], and we didn't want to put anything in jeopardy. So we decided that we wouldn't do anything for Rare Chandeliers, but we would do the custom Pen for him. And this was all done in a week. We were on the tightest time crunch ever. My artwork guy hand drew the image that we used on the box from a picture that he saw, and we had it done in seven days.
That's a quick flip. So how are sales going on the Action Pen?
It's been huge. Action's a star on his way up. For us to be able to sell what we've sold with his name still just getting out in the hip-hop world, I think the success has been phenomenal. We've been able to give him another piece of merchandise that he's stoked about. It completely describes Action. It is Action. It's perfect.
It's the future. You guys are the future of trees, he's the future of rap. It's too good. And you guys are in fact sponsoring the tour, right? I saw the G Pen banner behind him in the San Francisco footage.
Yeah, we did the DJ banner.
And you're selling them at the shows?
Yeah, I think we sold like fifty of them over six dates of the tour, which is not bad at all.
It's kind of an expensive product. It's not twenty bucks.
Yeah I mean, you figure you don't go to a show planning to spend a hundred dollars and over for anything, really, unless you're at a Madonna concert or something, where everything is ridiculously overpriced and it's become corporate. If you look at the demographics of who's going to his shows, they're dudes. He brings out the street cats that know what's up. And that doesn't always translate over to the people who have an extra $150 in their pocket. But it has. People are still buying them. And that's a true testament to how well perceived the product has been.
I saw a picture on Twitter of Bun B with the Bronson Pen.
We met Bun B at the SOS Hotel in Beverly Hills to drop him off a basket. We had a drink downstairs, then went upstairs to smoke, and I got out the Pen to do a little demo and show him how it works. And I started to load it, and he's like, "I already got a G Pen."
That's dope. Have any other artists embraced it?
Last week, [my friend Jose] sent me a picture in the middle of the day, and I was really focused on work, and all of a sudden I look, and I'm like, "Holy shit. Willie fucking Nelson."
Yup. There's Jose with Willie Nelson holding up two G Pens, with the two of them smiling. That's huge. Who could be bigger than Willie Nelson? But the best part of the story was that when Jose initially [went to give him a G Pen as a present], Willie goes, "Got one in my pocket, son," and pulls one out of his pocket.
No way. He's already riding the wave.
He already knows.
Are you guys looking to expand the customized line with any other artists?
It's already in the works, I just don't want to leak too many names. But what we have for the next one is huge.
Is it hip-hop related?
It is hip-hop related.
It's not Snoop Dogg. [Laughs.]
That would've been too easy.
Yeah, but you will see it soon. I just don't want to talk about anything before it's released. But people will definitely be like, "Wow, that's dope." And the next ones we're drawing up contracts for after that have a major "wow" factor, too. It's going to be a really good look for the company. I don't want to do a collab just to do a collab. I want each one to outdo the one prior to it. And I want it to be about a partnership, not just a pay check.
Go see all these Action Bronson shows:
ACTION BRONSON LIVE IN PHILLY
Friday, December 28
The Blockley | 3801 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
9 PM | 18 +
ACTION BRONSON LIVE IN CHICAGO
Saturday, December 29
Reggie's Rock Club | 2109 South State St, Chicago
7 PM | All Ages
ACTION BRONSON LIVE IN BROOKLYN
Wednesday, December 26
Brooklyn Bowl | 61 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn
Doors at 6 PM, Action Bronson at 9 PM | 21 +\
Follow Daniel on Twitter - @StanIpcus