Action Bronson // Blue Chips // March 12 // Self Released
In case you are thinking that the name Action Bronson sounds like a title of some sort of cop flick from the 80s, you are not the only one. Bronson himself seems to think this as the majority of samples on Blue Chips echoes the decade feel like his own TV series rather than an album. Blue Chips is part of the series that aims for cult classic rather than mainstream success as Bronson spends most of it satirising the glamorous lifestyles of rich rappers on this weird, sometimes annoying but ultimately lovable mixtape.
Action Bronson deals with the same irrelevancy that several up and coming New York MCs and rap groups have brought to the spotlight over the last few years. His raps don’t make a lot of sense on a larger scale and feel more like freestyles or stream of consciousness nonsense, the sort of stuff that Das Racist and Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire have been doing recently. While Das Racist have managed to make a career out of their clumsiness and now it works as their career blueprint, Action Bronson doesn’t have an overly memorable voice nor does his rhymes turn into something so surreal that would make the listener listen closely for obscure references. Don’t be mistaken though, the things he say might be silly but they are also very quotable and often funny. Kool A.D. himself shows up at one point on the tape to show the distinction between two rappers with Bronson sounding dead serious while rapping about random nonsense while A.D. continues his delve into being just purely nonsensical without resembling himself on first two Das Racist mixtapes. Despite all the ridiculous references to bitches, riches and eating bread with cheese in Rome, Bronson manages to sound genuine. It works wonders considering that he looks like white, ginger bearded Rick Ross, just to further enhance his rich lifestyle satirising persona.
The production on Blue Chips comes from Party Supplies who turns the album into a surreal show of its own. With most of the samples coming from something that sounds like TV shows and whatnot, Blue Chips sounds like it’s mocking rap’s obsession with orchestral samples. They are mostly just the background here as Action Bronson’s voice is much louder than the instrumentals and usually too reluctant to let the beats get some breathing space. The quality of the samples is also questionable when listening on good quality headphones which make for a rather unpleasant contrast with Bronson’s well recorded vocals. Despite all of this, Blue Chips sounds quintessentially New York without having all the characteristics of the east coast genre. With more and more rappers following A$AP Rocky’s footsteps of being from the east but sounding like the south, Bronson’s and Party Supplies’ mix of classic east coast mixed with kool g rap is a refreshing, if a bit formulaic idea in present day hipster hip hop. Blue Chips is a throwback in most ways it could possibly be considered as one.
Blue Chips is one of year’s biggest don’t-give-a-fuck releases so far. Bronson raps about smoking, riding cabs, getting sucked off while eating fettuccine. He fucks up his raps several times on 9-24-11 but instead of rerecording it from scratch he just starts rapping about how much he just fucked up. There’s something appealing about such uncalculated approach to rapping in the world where even freestyles are written and memorised before performances. Blue Chips suffers from sound quality and the sarcasm on here will go over some people’s heads big time. But more than sick verses, rhymes, samples, Blue Chips is rich with wild personality and charm.