The Action Bronson phenomenon has swept the nation and yet Bronson is still a relatively unknown rapper. Bronson, a.k.a. Bam Bam, Bronsoliño or Mr. Baklava, is a 33-year-old rapper from Flushing, Queens. Blue Chips 7000 is his fourth studio album and sounds like a mixtape because it almost is one.
Bronson started the Blue Chips series in March 2012 with the first release produced exclusively by production team Party Supplies. A year later, he released Blue Chips 2, again exclusively produced by Party Supplies. This time, Blue Chips 7000 is a retail album-mixtape that is produced by many producers. Because it is a studio album, Bronson does not have the same ability to sample at will. While this restriction limits his potential, listeners will find that not much is lost on Blue Chips 7000.
Bronson is a unique figure in the rap world. He has two television shows on Viceland that are as, if not more, entertaining than his rapping. “F**k, That’s Delicious,” reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” follows Bronson around the world on food-filled adventures. His other show, “Traveling the Stars: Action Bronson and Friends Watch Ancient Aliens,” is exactly what it sounds like. Bronson brings people like Tyler, the Creator on to watch “Ancient Aliens” with him while they examine and comment on the show.
As far as rapping goes, Bronson is a novelty. He still sounds like Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang. His punchlines are idiosyncratic and bizarre; he raps about food and has no limit as to where he will take his songs.
Blue Chips 7000 has plenty of vintage samples to complement Bronson’s laid-back, high-pitched flow. Blue Chips 7000 is a coherent project but lacks a full-album feel. Bronson is a stellar mixtape rapper but has yet to deliver a complete full-album experience. For example, he has a song called “My Right Lung” about how he would give his right lung if he could dunk a basketball one time. The thought is cute but the song is a bit stagnant. That’s not to say that Blue Chips 7000 does not have moments of glory. “The Chairman’s Intent” is ruthless and hard-hitting. Bronson is agile and for a moment shows us that he can rap alongside the best of them.
Bronson finds his stride on “The Choreographer,” produced by Daringer. Daringer utilizes a 1978 Leo’s Sunshipp sample from the groove song “I’m Back for More.” Bronson crafts a smooth hook and comes with some nice laid-back bars. Bronson also finds peace on “La Luna.” On many songs, including “La Luna,” Bronson includes a classic hip-hop sketch that leads into the song. Bronson capitalizes on this sketch and freestyles over one of the best beats on the album, produced by The Alchemist.
Blue Chips 7000 is a solid release from Bronson. It doesn’t have the same edge as his other Blue Chips releases, but the album still finds room to shine at times. 7000 lacks a hit record or radio song and is not as cohesive as his last album, Mr. Wonderful. Bronson fans will enjoy this project but will ultimately revisit his past Blue Chips projects for more.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars, 7.0/10, B-
Contact Tristan Niskanen at [email protected]