Blue Chips 7000 (released August 25, 2017)
Earlier this week, I read a great profile on Queens-born MC Action Bronson that gave me a lot of hope for his latest project:
“I’m a f***ing underground rapper. I am not made for the pop charts.”
Bron Bron is far from a rap rookie – he’s been releasing music since way back in 2011 – but he’s only recently grabbed the attention of mainstream observers with his hilarious Viceland food documentaries.
But true to his word, Bronson’s hasn’t let his recent high-profile success alter his music. Blue Chips 7000, his second major-label LP, is par the course for rap’s foremost foodie – incredible looped production severed with a heaping helping of Bronson’s bizarre wordplay.
“Too much lobster on the plane, the plane won’t stay up,” Bronson muses on “Wolfpack,” a random collection of non-sequiturs layered over production straight from an R&B lounge. One minute he’s “hotter than when Bow Wow dropped in the summer,” the next he’s laughing off unfortunate souls who “smoke little blunts like Kevin Hart’s arms” – you never know which direction Bronson’s coming from next, and that unpredictability makes his music so much fun.
As amusing as it is to hear Bronson compare himself to Street Fighter characters and brag about suplexing guys through salad bars on “La Luna,” the true strength of Blue Chips 7000 lies in its production. Album standout “The Chairman’s Intent” is laced with vicious guitar licks straights from the 36 Chambers of Shaolin (no surprise there, Bronson’s style has long been compared to the more imaginative members of the Wu-Tang Clan). And trust me, the soundscape doesn’t go to waste: “Two pumps from the inhaler got me feeling like Lawrence Taylor/Two kisses on the cheek for my tailor.”
“TANK” blares through your speakers like an 80s rock hit while “Bonzai” is downright elegant. The melodic production is a huge contrast to Bronson’s self-depreciating storytelling, where one minute he’s “always eatin’ dinner/Still got the body of a swimmer” and the next he says “My chick said I look like Kevin Bacon/I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not but I’ll take it.” “9-24-7000” is equally lush, with guest Rick Ross feeling quite at home in the environment.
At barely 40 minutes, Blue Chips 7000 has a relatively short running time so there is little margin for error. Thankfully the missteps are few and far between, with only the more lowkey tracks like “Let It Rain” and “My Right Lung” lacking the energy of other selections.
Bronson truly is an acquired taste – his stream-of-consciousness delivery and reliance on looped production and throwback samples might be hard for some fans to digest. But for those of us who know exactly what Bronson brings to the table, Blue Chips 7000 is a short but pretty satisfying meal.
Gimmie another plate of this weird stuff, it’s delicious.
Best tracks: “The Chairman’s Intent,” “TANK,” “Bonzai”
4 stars out of 5