New York City will never lack for elemental, beats-rhymes-and-life rap releases, and this year saw an especially bountiful influx from Roc Marciano, Meyhem Lauren, Sean Price, Joey Bada$$, and Chinx Drugs, among others. But the city has suffered a shortage of characters, especially since ears have continued to tune into the weird and wonderful exports from the south and west and the rest of the Internet. Enter Action Bronson. A big-ass, ginger-bearded chef-turned-rapper, he isn't the savior of a city immune to salvation, but rather a colorful crank who makes the nuts-and-bolts foundation of the five boroughs sound fun again.
Fittingly then, Blue Chips was created in a manner suggesting a hip-hop Beavis and Butt-Head dynamic: Bronson and producer Party Supplies sat down in front of a laptop and scoured YouTube for bizarro sounds to sample while getting opera-note high. And though the album is imbued with something like a buffoonish stoner's streak — as an infatuation with Tom Selleck's mustache suggests — it is, at its core, a testament to technical chops: "9-24-11" has Bronson deliberately mangling his lines only to restate them in the name of fuckin' with a flow; "Tapas" is a shot of raging and exhilarating braggadocio, while on the drum-less "Pouches of Tuna" his timbre provides the rhythm as if he's vocally conducting an entire rap orchestra. By now, everyone knows Bam-Bam Bronsolino is consummate with the fine-dining chatter and possesses an endless stash of obscure pro-wrestling references, but never forget that he grew up in Flushing, Queens, avidly listening to Kool G Rap. Of course he goes hard. P.M.