Action Bronson is a large, Albanian Jewish guy with a hipster-length beard, taste for Lincoln Town Cars and a honking New York voice — about the most unlikely rapper you can imagine. Hailing from Queens, the former chef broke from obscurity in 2012 with his Blue Chips mixtape, placing him among rap’s underground elite and landing him a deal with Vice Records. After a few lackluster releases and a slew of collaborations, Bronson teamed up with producer Party Supplies for the much-anticipated Blue Chips 2, offering an enjoyably bizarre and often funny trip into the strange mind of this New York long shot.
On the mixtape, Bronson’s lyrics stick mostly to his over-the-top crime fantasies filled with theatrical violence and garish products (think silk shirts, speed boats and Jaguars). The scenes he paints are laughably stupid. But through clever wordplay and tongue-twisting rhymes, the pictures becomes vivid and it’s all done with a skill and playfully mean attitude that makes it difficult to determine whether he is a kitsch rap savant or just some wise ass.
Like the first Blue Chips, Party Supplies offers his signature sample-heavy production. On the song “Pepe Lopez,” the beat is a straightforward chopped up sample of The Champs’s “Tequila.” Production highlights come from the milieu of ’80s samples (from the likes of Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and John Mellencamp) on “Contemporary Man” — where the beat switches five times — and from the stoned groove on songs like “Twin Peugots.”
Overall, Blue Chips 2 is a collection of Bronson’s weird, violent, misogynistic and often tacky fantasies. But he raps them well and the beats are a laugh. And it’s free, so you can legally download it right now.