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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Action Bronson continues his streak

Published: November 8, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc.

Of all the new rappers who have come out of the so-called “new school” of hip-hop, there are few more unique, in both personality and style, than New York’s Action Bronson. A trained fire-flame chef, Bronson has made quite the name for himself since his 2011 debut. He’s proven himself extremely prolific, with two self-released albums, an EP on Atlantic Records, four mixtapes and guest appearances in which he is able to hold his own on songs by other acclaimed new-schoolers, such as Chance the Rapper, Joey Bada$$ and A$AP Rocky.

But at the same time, the music community has bashed Bronson for his vulgar lyrics and actions. All of his songs have to do with sex, crime, genitalia (or food-related euphemisms for genitalia) and controversial activities. He once posted on Instagram a picture of a drunk homeless person whom he and his friends had shoved around and poured water on.

Nevertheless, Action Bronson has been one of my favorite current rappers since a friend gave me burned CDs of his brilliant 2012 mixtapes “Rare Chandeliers” and “Blue Chips,” the latter of which he followed up this Halloween with a surprise release of the aptly-titled “Blue Chips 2.” Since it came out, I’ve diligently listened to the 19-song tape at least five times, and I was happy to see that unlike this June’s lukewarm “SAAAB Stories,” “Blue Chips 2” is Action Bronson at his best.

Beginning with “Silverado,” “Intro” and “Pepe Lopez,” the mixtape immediately sets itself up as classic Bronson: classic Wu-Tang style flow, tongue-in-cheek sensibility and of course vulgarity. “The Don’s Cheek” is a three-minute “Godfather” reference, and the following songs “It Concerns Me” and “Practice” continue to show off Action Bronson’s skills, as well as those of producer Party Supplies, who also produced the first “Blue Chips” tape. The beats are very creative and include funky samples, such as The Champs’ instrumental classic “Tequila,” and on the song “Jackson and Travolta,” the hilarious isolated vocal track of Van Halen’s “Running With the Devil.”

“Through the Eyes of A G” kicks the mixtape into full gear with a fantastic guest verse by Ab-Soul; “Contemporary Man,” “Twin Peugots” and “Man in the Mirror” are equally electrifying and feature some great food puns. Except for “Rolling Thunder,” which also credits Action Bronson as a featured artist for some reason, and is just kind of weird, the final eight songs are all really good, especially “9.24.13” and “Amadu Diablo.” The baseness of the lyrics is a bit wearying at times and sometimes Party Supplies’ samples can be as weird and out of place as they are creative. I admit that I’m a bit biased in this review because I really like Action Bronson. But “Blue Chips 2” is a good entry into what has been a great year for rap music, and I’ll definitely be listening to it for the rest of this year.