It’s been over two years since Action Bronson's last project, 2015's Mr. Wonderful, but the long wait, which included a serious threat to leak the project himself, is finally over. Today (August 25), the Queens-born rapper has released the third installment of his fan-favorite mixtape series as his sophomore major label album, entitled Blue Chips 7000.
There are two schools of thought you can take when reacting to a new Bronson album. If you are looking for artistic progress or growth, perhaps you came to the wrong place as much of what you'll hear will sound very familiar. But if you grew to love the Action you have missed dearly since Mr. Wonderful, you should enjoy the newest edition to the Blue Chips collection.
BC7000, as I will refer to it throughout this review, provides exactly what you’ve come to expect from the weed-smoking VICELAND TV star who has grown into a self-described cartoon character version of himself in the wake of a budding television career. He wears "the same outfit every day," he eats good food, and he smokes good weed. You already know his lyrics will be filled with references to sports, pop culture, and getting as high as possible whenever he can.
On the lead single “Chairman’s Intent," Bronson offers a mix of both, admitting that when he's “sitting courtside, I’m likely lit.” In typical Bronson fashion, BC7000 is packed with outlandish references to keep you coming back for more.
On “My Right Lung,” Bronson hilariously shares his desire for better basketball prowess when he admits he would literally give up his right lung to dunk just once. This is a rapper who is an extraordinarily large man with a self-described stomach like the Buddha who shares stories about doing aerobics by the ocean. This is just one of the various eccentric pictures being painted on BC7000, which are often fun just to attempt to visualize.
Sometimes, Bronson is rocking Air Force 1s at a wedding. Other times, he’s eating lobster while flying on a plane. Fans want the big-bearded goofball wearing a Starter jacket, a vintage corduroy hat and a silly grin and, in that regard, he delivers.
Bronson, of course, is not much of a singer, nor does he pretend like he has a talent for the craft. In fact, the most charming part of the album may be on "Bonzai," when he briefly uses his raspy, cracking voice to replicate Roy Ayers' hook from “In The Sunshine” (sampled on Mary J. Blige's “My Life”).
While BC7000 provides plenty of quotables, lyrics sometimes feel like lazier versions of previous gems, such as "I'm always eating dinner" failing to reach the brilliance of past musings like "All I do is eat oysters." Although, Bronson is one of a select few emcees who could rap about taking a “nappy nap” and rhyme it with “hacky sack” without people dismissing him entirely.
Bronson has always been unapologetically himself, and he doesn’t make much of an effort—if any at all—to clear up an image that's been undeniably damaged by controversial lyrics and social media posts. (He tosses “you bitch” ad libs around freely on “Let It Rain,” which, considering past controversy and the fact the song's intro is made up of sex noises, don't land softly.)
BC7000 is made up of the eccentric beats and wide-ranging samples that fans of the Blue Chips series have come to expect, which is commendable considering the additional legal hoops a major label retail effort must jump through. As such, there are clever ways Bronson shows his range and versatility as a rapper; on one of the album's better moments, he freestyles over funky call-waiting music on "La Luna."
“Chairman’s Intent” has a fantastic break for strings, and there are some enjoyable guitar licks on “Chop Chop Chop” as well. One might think the horns on “Let It Rain” could even sound sexy if he didn’t mention McDonald's, and the production on “The Choreographer” is lush and brilliant.
The album takes a dip when Action goes too far outside his production comfort zone. “Let Me Breathe,” in particular, is a dance track that doesn’t fit at all with the rest of the album and comes across as a tongue-in-cheek radio crossover attempt that won't make any waves. The album makes no other serious attempt at a hit single—there is no "Baby Blue" or "Actin' Crazy"—though it does have star-power, enlisting Rick Ross for "9-24-7000," the latest installment in a beloved song series among fans.
BC7000 is a family affair; other than Ross and Jah Tiger's catchy hook on “Hot Pepper,” it's Mayhem Lauren, Big Body Bes, The Alchemist, Harry Fraud, Party Supplies and Knxwledge riding shotgun. Each contribution plays out exactly as a longtime listener would expect.
Over the last few years, Action Bronson has diversified his portfolio and become perhaps more notable as a personality than a recording artist. Blue Chips 7000 isn't going to blow any minds or unveil two years of quiet artistic experimentation from the Queens rapper. Rather, it's a return to form for Bronson, who picks up right where he left off.
If you've been waiting two years to hear more outlandish raps over funky production from the culinary-minded stoner, bon appétit.
Three Standout Songs:
“TANK” ft. Big Body Bes
The production on "TANK" has the most classic feel of an Action Bronson song on the project. It features trippy guitar in the back and Body yelling about Maury—this is where I’d start for a new fan.
“9-24-7000” ft. Rick Ross
My favorite track from Bronson is “9-24-11,” so of course the third edition of this song was going to grab my attention regardless. Fortunately, and perhaps even unexpectedly, it features Rick Ross. If you’re anything like me, this is the collaboration you’ve looking forward to for way too long but have been too afraid to speak into existence.
"The Choreographer" is a slower jam, but I do legitimately want to take a dance lesson from Young Bronsoliño. The beat on this one is absolute fire and his description of himself having a “stomach like Buddha” makes his ability even more impressive.