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Action Bronson Keeps Ballin’ On ‘Blue Chips 7000’

Before all the success and accolades, Action Bronson was just a chef turnt rapper who kicked bars about fine foods and expensive tastes on J-Love mixtapes. While many from the Big Apple have adopted other regions’ sounds to gain popularity, Action has always repped NYC in terms of style and attitude. Being down with a platoon of Lo-Lifes, many assume he is part of the notorious boosting and collecting crew. However, while associated with the Lo’s, Bronson has always been about his own brand.

Now, that dun dun is a media sensation with TV shows and a cook book on the way, it’s kind of hard to separate the larger-than-life persona from the lyricist who first made us love this guy. Is it possible we are all biased about his music because we dig the character he has become, a la Snoop Dogg? Although we pose the question, we’re also going to quickly dead that notion. While not every song or project of his career has been on the level of “Shiraz” or Well-Done, Bronson has kept his pen game nice, never losing a step despite splitting time between TV and music.

If you still have Blue Chips and Blue Chips 2 on your phone years later, but are confused how we got to Blue Chips 7000 so quickly, let’s put it like this: it’s about the level jump. Blue Chips started as a mixtape series he did with DJ/producer Party Supplies but for the third instalment we are getting a studio album. So, this is a project with the full weight of Vice Records and Atlantic Records behind it. 7000 shit. A good example of the level jump is “9.24.7000.” This cut is the third part in a series of songs that started with “9.24.11” on Blue Chips and “9.24.13” on Blue Chips 2. This new one features a guest spot from The Bawse, Ricky Ross.

The singles (“Durag vs. Headband,” “Let It Breathe,” “The Chairman’s Intent“) hit us with the comedic lyrics, smooth delivery, and top shelf beats that we expect from Bronson. But it’s all the songs we haven’t heard yet that are going to have heads grinning from ear to ear (at least inwardly). There are no “skip” tracks here. Zero filler. Simply put, Blue Chips 7000 is listenable from end-to-end.

If you haven’t gotten the idea yet, Bam Bam be about that buddha like Siddhartha, and he starts the album off with a covertly recorded conversation between himself and an unidentified female who has just smoked the good shit. She’s out-of-her-mind stoned and can’t even find the words to explain the high. Then the ill piano loop of “Wolfpack” drops in and Bronson straight moiders it, spitting ridiculous lines like:

“My bloodline predates aardvark / And large shark / And cooking flesh over charred bark.”

“La Luna” starts with Action asking somebody else in the room to call him a car to go to The Garden. You hear the phone ring and then an automated message from La Luna luxury car service, and then it goes to hold music…except this hold music is some dope Cali funk. Bronsolino reacts like, “oh what’s this” and starts rapping on it like it’s a spontaneous event happening in real time. Dude continues to bring back that cleverness and creativity Hip-Hop has been sorely lacking.

On “Hot Pepper,” Baklava gets together with his roll dog Meyhem Lauren to mash out until the streets need a mop up. Both MCs clearly amp each other up and their verses reflect the friendly competition. And did we mention, they recruit a reggae DJ right off the street and he kicks some legit chat. I’m not familiar with Jah Tiger otherwise, but this seems like one of those Charles Bradley situations.

The cool-out guitar and gentle flute on “Bonzai” would have killed it just as hard in ’96 as they do now. Brons takes this opportunity to blast off with the rhymes and take it out the stratosphere. He freaks those raps that make other MCs jealous like, “I might hang off the side of a mountain and trim a bonsai / perfect ten on a swan dive / uhn, I could never do no wrong in my moms eyes.”

“Let It Rain” is as sombre as Action gets. The Latin percussion, bouncy keys, and sax solo make this track sound like it should be performed strictly in a smoky Cuban jazz club. I don’t think we have to quote any more bars for you to get the idea that this album deserves multiple listens in a row to catch all the punchlines. And each time you gon’ be like, “Oh shit, you hear what he said?” to anybody within hearing distance.

On “My Right Lung” and “TANK” the beardy rapper flexes his trademark humor…which is amplified ten fold with Big Body Bes’ ranting on the break of “TANK.” Both cuts have that certain mellow jazz vibe that can only be achieved with sample-based beats. When you hear ‘em, you’ll know exactly what we mean.

 

After seeing Bronson’s antics in the “Let Me Breathe” video, you know he considers himself something of a dance god, so it should come as no surprise that he has a cut titled “The Choreographer.” This is as close as he’ll ever get to making a dance song. You can diddy bop to this shit all day. If they play this in the club a Soul Train line might even just pop off.

On “Chop Chop Chop” our boy flips an old children’s song, singing, “The wheels on the Range go chop, chop, chop.” Then he flips a slow flow over a honey-sweet guitar riff and layered vocal samples. I’m not sure what’s said in Italian at the end but it sounds official.

While Action’s girth may make you think swift moves are not within his wheelhouse, you need to recognize how he’s been maneuvering and multitasking…and miraculously, he’s not sacrificing quality. Don’t let his hood antics fool you, son is calculating every move he makes and “Blue Chips 7000” is his most refined work yet.

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