Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Rap Dennis the Menace - A Review of "Blue Chips 2"


YO. The date of the birth is 'round the corner. Tack another one on for all the h8rz that said I'd never make it or whatever. Pour one out for the homies lost along the way and all that. But, yo, I'm an adult now. It ain't like I really expect much for my birthday anymore. All I ever ask for every year is a John Wayne in my belly and the general avoidance of whack shit in my life for at least one earthspin. This year it was looking like The Day was about to be especially on point when word came out that R. Kelly was fittin' to toss them Black Panties on us. But then... BUT THEN. Y'all, but then shit got real. That bar got raised. Kellz got upstaged. From the heights of heaven, word came that the world and its undeserving mortals would receive a second serving of last year's dopest mixtape, the TSR-approved Blue Chips.

Now, normally I leave it to the Gods to speak at length on the merits of the realest hip-hop joints, since it ain't really my forte or whatever. I ain't exactly the aficionado or authority on the subject. It'd make more sense for me to have an opinion on the new Arcade Fire or something like that (I do. I think it's mostly meh.) Yo, tho. The exception being basically anything pertaining to the homie, Action Bronson. This is a dude for whom I've nearly nothing bad to say. Dude has put in work to make a name for himself and, if nothing else, has at least done well enough not to be compared tonally to Ghostface in the first paragraph of every review of his music. At his core, he's simple. Dude likes rap but loves food. He appreciates the finer things but goes hard for that underbelly. That plebeian life. He's a connoisseur of unsavory culture, and he's always crossbreeding its touchstones with those of opulence and luxury. Dude's the kind of guy that would eat with his hands at The French Laundry or some shit. Licking his fingers and generally not giving a fuck. His raps are in kind. I'll got to bat for that all day.

Nevertheless, I'm always, always skeptical of anything billed as a sequel, because sequels suck. Blah blah blah The Godfather Part II / (The Chronic) 2001 blah blah blah. Shut up. They're called outliers. Sequels suck, and you know it. Though this is particularly true in film, fucking with rehashed follow-ups in hip-hop often ain't no wiser than flirting with in the incidental installments of The Hangover and Grown Ups franchises. You know an artist is on their way out (at least creatively) when, years removed from past masterwork(s), they name their new joints after their best joints like they've been born again or some gibberish. Like they're not longer affected by the new house on the new hill. Consider The Blueprint 2 (or 2.1 or 3). Consider The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Money grabs for the mindless, all of 'em. It's just lazy, dishonest marketing to say nothing of the uninspired music you'll find on them feces factories.

Yo, but this is the big man, Action Bronson. This is a dude aware of what his people want, of what makes him unique, interesting and worthwhile.

And, secondly, Blue Chips 2 is a mixtape. Mixtapes are different. We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 2Da Drought 3, Dedication 2. Some of the best product put out this decade. Something about the free raps over fistfuls of uncleared samples absent the eyes of label overlords. It's a chance to flex superior on someone else's turf, to put your own stinky piss on the corner hydrant. It's real shit without the bullshit,  and, when done well, it both breeds creativity and fends off the sequel stigma. Action Bronson and Party Supplies (née Justin Nealis) proved themselves an indelibly compatible duo the first time out. After bumping this new piece for a week, I feel it'd have been inappropriate to call their current collab anything other than Blue Chips 2.

Alright.. I've said my piece. Let's get it shakin':

First off, let's just take a moment and realize how fucking great that artwork is. I said LOOK AT THE FUCKIN ARTWORK. I mean, we got Bronsolini working up a sweat goin' Bobby Knight on some old fuck and a fresh set of bolt-ons set free in the background. It's absurd as fuck even if only because Lord(?) knows there ain't a sweater vest on this planet that can contain the big man. That mess would be stretchin' at the seams, for sure. Credit where it's motherfuckin' due. That's so solid.

The tracks.

1. "Silverado" - "Bam Bam in the motherfuckin' building. Queens, NY. Straight up."  Enter a nifty, metallic guitar slide, some honkey-tonk piano-pounding and a beat so loosely intact it could've only been constructed by a white kid from Brooklyn. The man/myth/legend jumps in and spits some vintage Bronson flow for a minute-thirty. This shit is a primer, yo. Like if you ain't been jockin' the big man for at least the last year, well number one you been fuckin' up. Number two you might not know what you're getting into, so "Silverado" lights off with all the hallmarks. Multiple scenes of tacky extravagance, references to entrees you ain't never heard of because you're a classless and cultureless fuck, casual mentions of camel toes. This piece is so fresh and so clean. Except instead of clean it's seedy as hell.

"Why the fuck would I have a body guard, when I look just like the motherfuckin' body guard?!"

2. "Intro (feat. Big Body Bes)" - I honestly ain't sure why the hell this shit is called "Intro" when it's the second cut on the collection and Action done already given you a proper rundown of what's to come. Like you've already been assured the second installment in this series is staying true to if not trying to improve upon the original Blue Chips. But I guess there ain't no other proper name for this track being that it hearkens back to the day when every rap album had a motherfuckin' intro because apparently motherfuckers that drive that ass out to the store to search something out alphabetically by artist or other motherfuckers that Google the shit by name and download it directly to their hard drives all need to be explicitly instructed as to exactly what motherfuckin' time it is or whatever. The "intro" is unnecessary, but I cut it mad slack on account of it being (1) your proper introduction to Bronson's cousin and coattail-rider-in-chief, Big Body Bes, and (2) so goddamn silky smooth, son. Like this is just luxurious, but not in the Kanye/Jigga all-gold-errthang matter of speaking. I'm talkin' 'bout some mid-seventies Miami kinda shit. Like the stuff youngbloods like me that was hardly even germinated in the pops' testes back in the seventies might confuse for elevator music. But I'm tellin' you that if this thing ever came on in an elevator, everyone in that elevator would start fuckin' in that elevator. Big Body sound so suave you gotta hear this speech a couple times to realize he ain't issuing any open heart apologetics as the soft keys imply he should be. He's talkin' mad shit about being a "made man" even though dude is a backseat motherfucka through and through. Nevertheless, dude is seriously entertaining, so I'm cool with lettin' him ride shotty on the Intro de jure if Bronson is.

3. "Pepe Lopez" - Goddamnit, son. I don't even know which is crazier: the fact that this track samples The Champs or that Action flows over the top so effortlessly. Really, this ain't even samplin' nothin'. My dude Party Supplies cued up "Tequila" and just let his main man body the track at length. Maybe he accentuated the hand-claps a little bit, but that's about it. It's probably just because I'm white, but this is just fuckin' wildly entertaining to me. I just love watching some virginal artifacts from Ike's era get defiled by a grimy, sacrilegious motherfucker like Bronson. The fact of the matter, though, is I just can't see this working for anyone else in the game, you know? This is some treacherous-ass, perilous-ass territory for any dudes less deft. The trick is these guys know its insane, and Action's spit is equally preposterous, never slowing down long enough for you to second-guess or nitpick any of it. When the classic sax line jumps in on the joint, my dude just starts shouting out his people in various spots in NYC. You get the definite sense dude is havin' fun with it, and that's when he's at his best. This is without question the best thing that's happened to this song since it soundtracked some preteen field experiments with chew and centrifugal force. Like I gotta believe the shit laid dormant with no substantive lyrics for over fifty years just so Bronson could bless it properly. Yo really, if you think about it, if that fat ginger kid from The Sandlot grew up and went all Arte Lange on us and started fuckin' with some top shelf dirtball foolery, you gotta figure this the kinda tune he'd blast on his way out to Vegas. Probably keep a broad in the side-seat. Top down, titties out and whatnot.

"I'm in the grey 'eight, restaurant I order rabbit like a playmate. Suede snake, crocodile silk. Barely legal Brazilian mommy all on the quilt."

4. "The Don's Cheek" - I was feelin' this joint right off the bat. Like half of this is pretty heavy. The the drums and bass are nasty. You wouldn't even blink if they were fueling one of the filthier cuts on the latest Pusha record. But then there's some bombastic horn-section madness flaring up on the downbeats. And a clicky-sounding string-thing slinking about. Amidst the mad vibe you're like, "What the fuck is making that noise??" Motherfuckers that's a pipa. (That's what you got me for, so you don't go wandering about wondering aloud, calling it a guitar and looking like an uneducated piece of shit.) Bronson's on some jet setter shit. Globe-trottin'. He's grabbing his nuts, then grabbing your wings and dippin' 'em in that Asian Zing. This track's an oriental-style shirt flapping in the wind like a bird's wing. This jam hits, y'all, and I feel it for sure. I just gotta ask where was this shit to soundtrack all the katana kills I racked up in Vice City strip clubs back in the day.

Anyway. The man really just gettin' into mid-stride on this track. Like he ain't even taken the warm-ups off yet. He's standin' in line waitin' to do some lay-ups for the cameras. Talkin' about mobbing around on a Sea-Doo wearin' a tux and shit. Talkin' about Hammer-dancing on the courthouse steps post-acquittal with some Asian prostitutes. He probably got one of 'em to play the pipa on the track. I don't know. I ain't even on that kind of level.

"Placido Polanco crib. His bitch was black. She started purrin'. I kissed the cat."

5. "It Concerns Me" - If you get caught sleepin' you might think this just the second movement of the previous track, ridin' in on a samba beat and a rambling piano that sticks around but grows increasingly shambolic from verse to verse. It ain't like the switch is fluid or nothing. The shift is stark, but that's becoming more and more popular in rap music these days (shouts to K-Dot). Plus it's another couple minutes of Bronsoliño rhymin' about some outlandish outlaw nonsense, so it's easy to make a mistake like that. This time dude's a riverboat gambler. Or a yacht gambler out in the Mediterranean. Or both. That ain't important. The last third of the track is Bronson goin' on a cappella about divin' out the high rise into the ocean, strangling an octopus and then eating it. Fuck with that if you can. You can't. ... Oh, and the track ends with the audio from that Applebees 2-for-20 commercial narrated by Jason Sudekis. "Why?" you ask. Yo, shut the fuck up.

"Flicks with Ellen Degeneres, rockin' Pariellas. Been a degenerate, cuttin' ribbons with Senators."

6. "Practice" - This the shit that got released like a week ago and let a dude like me release a sigh of relief. That was when I knew Blue Chips 2 would be a fruitful endeavor. It kicks off with a snippet of classic Allan Iverson, who finally made his retirement official the day after this shit dropped. That can't be coincidence.

Bam Bam grabs the reins and gets after it right away. It's hard to believe we almost killed a six pack before dude hits us with a reference to a rental car. That's his thing. Bronson is always doin' wild shit in rentals. Gettin' brain. Hiding weapons. Doin' hoodrat things with his friends. This time he's completing a drug deal and (possibly?) taking a dump out the window while rollin' down the freeway. Trumpet section blaring out, sounding like it was ripped from a movie about gumshoe from the '40s played by Richard Gere in the '90s. This is Bronson at his most freely associative. There's potent quotables littered all through this track. I dig it.

"Stand on the balcony naked, just screamin', 'Fuck it, I made it!' Every meal I eat steak to make a statement. Patrick Bateman. Thirty Mexicans in the basement. Let's get it shakin'. The whole block smellin' like bacon."

7. "Jackson & Travolta (feat. Mayhem Lauren)" - This is probably the hardest motherfucker on the whole tape. Like they rope you in with that sunshiney WCBS FM intro, but then it's straight street shit and Bronselino capping the first couplet claiming he'll suck his son's dick. Woo! And even though the old homie Mayhem Lauren is back to clock-in for his one track saying nothing of great importance, dude is at least sounding aggressive about it, albeit perhaps just a tad too much so. The homie Action Bronson don't really dabble in anything I'd describe as "doom rap", but whatever. This shit will probably squeeze a couple man grunts out of even you scrawny motherfuckers out there, regardless. There's something else I wanna talk about, though. It occurred to me during the minute-or-so outro that this track is only the latest in the game to employ mention of big-boned rap artists mocking the earth's gravitational pull. I mean a couple years ago I laughed a little when The Boss Rick Ross was talkin' about hang-gliding with his main piece out over the Hawaiian jungle or whatever, but deep down I assumed it was metaphorical. Like I thought he was flying above the haters, shittin' on 'em rhetorically speaking, you know? But now, I dunno, because this track alludes not once but twice to an image of Action utilizing a hang-glider. And later there's talk of the dude skydiving. I mean that's the kind of imagination we're dealing with here. Outlandish noise.

"Million-dollar belt, precious facial features, acid in the fuckin' headband. Get the bed pan. I'm shittin' on myself, and you're the one that's gotta clean it. While I lay there. Just to get some ray bans? Shit."

8. "Through The Eyes Of A G (feat. Ab-Soul)" - Now that's a goddamn sample. Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By"? Yeah, son. That's what's up. Turns out to be a more than adequate backdrop for the latest in the current case study on manufactured misogynist outrage aimed at modern hip-hop. Just a couple months ago 'Ye dropped Yeezus and caught all kinds of huff 'n' puff regarding "I'm In It". Everyone was especially up in arms over his boast about civil-rights-signing some chick. But, yo, that's comparatively low-key considering that Bronson's wildin' all over this track, "[putting] a fist in [an] ass like a Muppet Baby" and later "[aiming] the hammer at your dame's bladder." And guaranteed it'll be met with mum. But why? Is it a money thing? Or a race thing? Is it because Bam Bam is doin' concentration curls with the cinder blocks? Is it the context and the realization that eight tracks in there's probably less that Bronson hasn't done to the kitty? It can't be the context. Modern media outrage outlets give no fucks about context. I mean I ain't really got an answer for it, but it is certainly interesting. This jam's got that "Hookers At The Point" vibe, but it ain't really on that kind of level.

"Forty-fives will kiss your neck like the touch of a lady. Fuck with my lunch and the pump leaves you under the daisies."

9. "Contemporary Man" - Check out the dude Party Supplies. Young man lettin' loose on his Gregg Gillis grind, mashing up all kinds of samples from songs released a couple years before I was even born. Songs I don't normally fuck with because they're from a decade I don't really fuck with. At all. In any way. I dunno, the canned drums and crappy keyboard patches. Spare me, son. I mean I don't know why the dude didn't just go all out and Rick Roll the track. I mean why the fuck not? This jam is already packed with some soft-ass source material. Honestly, I won't even pretend I can tell the difference between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. And the only reason I don't talk mess on John Cougar is because I got a couple uncles that are like in love with that motherfucker, and since they both got an internet connection and the ability to kick the shit out of me, I speak softly, son. All that being said, the maestro works his magic on the arrangement. He keeps it moving, chopping the hot garbage into palatable pieces. And rest assured The Chef is absolutely feasting on 'em. He's stacking these shits tall as a Bronson Burger and devouring them all. He even croons a measure two-thirds of the way through. And really, of course it makes sense that the Action's finest flow thus far comes atop the tackiest track imaginable. Fuckin' guy probably had a hard-on the whole way through.

"I'm just a white man succeeding in a black sport, like a Pistol Pete. You already know you're a goner when I kiss your cheek."

"Spinal tap. You're spittin' gynecology rap. Eat your pussy with a plastic bag covering that."

10. "Twin Peugots (feat. Big Body Bes, Mac Miller)" - Man. Flushing's Finest ain't even halfway through this tape and he already sounding like he's taking a victory lap. Sounding like he's cruisin' around Daytona hanging the checkered out the window. Doing donuts on the infield. This number calls to mind Blue Chips closer "Tapas", sounding like it coulda played looped on the credits after any* of the Rocky pictures (especially the first, *not that miserable pile of sloughed stomach lining, Rocky VI). But you know what? Why not? If dude were to throw the chute right here, he'd already have by this point birthed a top-tier collection of underworld anthems to stack alongside a bona fide classic he's already got under his belt. He ain't coasting, though. Straight stuntin' on the track. Oh, also. Pardon Big Body. Dude was workin' hard, himself. Had to lay up nice as fuck for 'bout a week out in Orchard Beach with your mom. Watchin' his money pile up. Lettin' opportunity come calling and get forwarded to the voicemail. Take a number, bruh. Mac Miller tip-toes in, tambien, and though he ain't really my dude, his presence is kinda seamless on this track. I mean it sounds like his verse was written by either Action or Eminem, but whatever. It was for a greater cause.

"Jump jumble. Doin' front-flips off the roof like a stunt double. My shorty doin' kegels for her cunt muscle."

11. "Man & The Mirror" - Bronson talkin' sexy to hisself on this track. Like not in a way where you think dude would try and fuck hisself if that were anatomically possible. Dude just likes what he sees, you know? He's just a pompous hippopotamus. I mean, don't act like you don't throw yourself a head nod after splashin' the aftershave as you're headed out on a snatch safari. Winkin' at yourself or some shit. And you ain't even flossin' as hard as Big Bronson, nor anywhere near as often. In fact, I'm sure you're probably still fuckin' around with Android Ice Cream Sandwich and shit. Your mind can't even handle the unbounded gifts of Google Now. I'm bet you're still oversleeping and getting to work late on days when there's traffic on the 91. You're a child, son. You're staying on whack shit. Get off Bronson's dick. Alright, anyway, there ain't much to this track besides Action acting flirtatious to his reflected twin for a quick minute. He's once again fantasizing about doing some Ethan Hunt-type acrobat shit. He's on that Jack Reacher grind. He's also name-checking Horace Grant at the end because it rhymed.

"The Caddy got the brown hard-top just like the creme brule. Crack it. I mean retract it. The bitches, they think I'm attractive. That means I'm sexually active."

12. "Midget Cough" - Laaaaaaaaaaaid back. Bronsoliño brings that post-wax flow slow and low, spittin' over what sounds like Ray Manzarek sitting in with the Eagles on quaaludes. We're on PCH. Bronsolini's on THC. Dude sounds like he's on the verge of passing out, one arm throwing the whip like Jim Abbott. Big Shot Rob is there riding bitch, too, for reasons that are simultaneously beyond comprehension in no need of explanation.  This thing is a weed dream, through and through. Guaranteed this jam would play at Jackie Treehorne's crib. I just feel the fuck out of this. Like to an extent you'd find confusing if you ran my piss test. I'm positive this is the track Bronson bumps in the bath. Probably getting sponged down by the harem. Definitely keeping a half-dozen blunts burning about as incense. Keep this thing on loop for the rainy days with nothing to do and also every other day, too.

"Dive out the chopper in the water. Ughh. No splash. Olympic shit. Ay, yo, the spliff look like a shrimp with a shit."

13. "It's Me" - Action ponders pre-rap about to the possible effects the weed wax is having on him. Then he goes for two-and-a-half minutes over steel drums and a xylophone. And he tacks another commercial on at the end (this time Phil Mickelson chimes in for old fucks that take Enbrel). Asked and answered, my dude. I mean, what the fuck? This shit sounds like something that'd be played over house speakers at a tacky-ass tiki-hut restaurant like Islands or some shit (though, shout out to the super official Big Wave w/ Cheese lunch special). Sounds like he just grabbed that dude that's been setting up shop with the steel drum outside Toys-R-Us on Amargosa for the last decade-plus and let the guy bang out a track. This is like cruise ship rap or something... except that it's Action Bronson being typically explicit in front of the kids and (probably) hitting the water slide nude as fuck. Beasts on some nonsensical noise.

"A young Zinedine Zidane. In Flushing Meadow Park drinkin' Hennessey with mom. You might catch me out in Tennessee with wine. Won't even dine unless the ice sculpture centerpiece a swan."

14. "Flip Ya (feat. Retchy P.)" - Aiight. This is what was supposed to follow "Midget Cough". I could have for the most part done without "It's Me", and it makes even less sense sandwiched between two legit shits like these. Ay, fuck it, though. That's kind of what mixtapes are for or whatever. Ain't like it would have ever made the major label debut. This track, though? This track is money, y'all. Keeps that same late-night neon light burn, but with more BPMs. There's some seriously sultry sax wail up in here. Like if you don't feel this jam, I'm just not sure you're a feelin' motherfucker, ya hear? Go punch yourself in the dick and see if you can feel that. Personally, this thing keepin' my head bobbin' like one of Bronson's hoes. Bam Bam and Retch both spittin' fire, too. I'ma have to say this is the best guest spot on the album by a fair margin. Still it's Action that's "sittin' A.C. Slater-style on your girl's shoulder"... which is to say he's crushin' your chick. Get used to it.

"I'll probably die from drugs or while I'm fuckin'. Fuck it, as long as she suck dick. You see me with a bitch like Vanna White at a benefit for battered wives."

15. "9-24-13 (feat. Big Body Bes)" - When I first peeped the playlist for Blue Chips 2, this is the track caught my eye right away. "9-24-11" is the jam on the prequel. Everyone goes hard for that shit, because it's fucking beautiful and simply real as fuck. The sample alone... my God(?), fucking masterful. If it's not the best of Blue Chips OG, the first September Twenty-fourth is at least without question the star of its second half. Two years later to the day, we got something different that's more of the same. Bronson's moved from smoking Thanksgiving turkey bags to puffin' wax (the vinyl scratch is a clever pun). The sample is less operatic this time around. It's more non-Baptist church choir, like the kind an orphan kid would stumble onto on Christmas Eve in an empty church or whatever. Maybe a splash of doo-wop in there, too. It's smooth. Action cracks up and restarts his rhymes just like last time as he recounts how he strong-armed Patrick Ewing into putting the finger roll off the back iron in '95. (By extension, we have Bronsolini to thank for the best 30-for-30 in the process.) This time, though, there's no urgency to regain the flow and get it right. The chuckles seem intentional and, thus, tread on maybe just the wrong side of the line between homage and inauthenticity. You know what's genuine as fuck, though? Big motherfucking Body. He's back for another end-of-the-track soliloquy. He's wildin', y'all, and he wants everyone to know it. But dudes like Big Body don't really change; they're forever the same. They're the kind of people successful fucks gotta keep around when they're blowing up like Bronson is. They're the kind of people that remind a motherfucker where they came from when the ego starts balloonin'. They might throw they paper around a little more often, but they stay on real shit. They never sell out. A guy like that is worth every marble tile he had flown in from the Nutmeg State. Kanye should get one. Anyway. Overall, I can't say this track is outright better than the original, but as an companion piece or tribute, it's real nice.

"I remember back when they wouldn't spend a stack on my raps. Now they wanna wipe my ass and the crack after I shat. And I just had corned beef hash. Ew."

16. "Rolling Thunder (feat. Action Bronson)" - Soon as Big Body finishes blessing your eardrums and burning a benji ridding his forearm of chimi sauce, that old-timey 1950s Billboard Top 40 shit takes over the next track. Mad crooning going on in the background. There was another WCBS intro a track back, so to an extent they're finally delivering on the golden oldies. Through every time Bronson steps to the mic, Party Supplies brings the crunk beat. It's kinda off kilter. First time I heard it I thought I accidentally started playing some Lil Jon shit from my iTunes while I was streaming Blue Chips 2 online. It's kinda growing on me, though. And the song ends with another commercial... for an accident attorney... en Español. So, make of that what you will. Nevertheless.. I dig this for being kinda different. Bronson is on point as per usual. This is, by my count, like the third time dude's rhymed about having dual, open-facing toilets in his personal lavatory. That's his new fetish, for sure. I gotta wonder where it came from. When it comes time to claim Flushing, Queens, Bronsoliño consults his fantasy baseball waiver wire, selects starting pitchers, filters out the non-Mets, sorts by percent owned and scrolls like halfway down to namedrop a bland-ass buster like Dillon Gee. Not Matt Harvey. Not Zach Wheeler, even. Dillon Gee. This more-or-less encapsulates all you need to know about Action Bronson, his tastes, and how awful his fantasy baseball team probably is.

"You ain't gotta open the comic book to figure who the villain be. It's me doing perfect dives in the Sicilian Sea. You know I like my bitch with a Brazillian V."

17. "Amadu Diablo" - Yo, back in the days of the first apartment, I used to room with a guy that played guitar. Dude would do this thing where he'd get super goddamn obsessed with one song at a time and play that piece into the motherfuckin' ground, ya hear? Six feet deep. Dead as a motherfucker. Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason" was given this treatment on not one but two occasions. Shit felt like it was just always fucking on. But he was really into it for some reason (probs because he was raised on Linda Ronstadt, but whatever). Personally, I can't stand it. I hear it and I want to hurl. It's not that it's bad, per se. Just, I mean, goddamn. How many times can one man listen to the most uninteresting song on the planet? Action makes it tolerable, but you can tell he ain't particularly inspired by it, neither. This is probably my mom's favorite jam on the tape.

"She threw the condom, told me, 'Put it in.' I did. Fuck! I nutted in like three strokes. Shit! Now that's no way to rep the East Coast!"

18. "The City (feat. Jeff Woods)" - The groove on this jam is just funky. The rest I don't really fuck with. Especially, the DJ interviewing Action at the top. That guy sounds like a tool.

19. "Adore You" - This is easily the most subdued spliff on the record, and it's also the most personal. It's a dessert course, complete with food references on the sweeter side of the spectrum. It's not my favorite of these tracks. That's to be sure. But it certainly is a sort of relief to hear action break from the increasingly risible nature of his rhymes and speak on some real, somewhat emotional shit. Blue Chips 2 is nice. Really nice. But what's holding it a hair below the original is it's near complete absence of genuine substance. That grown-man shit. There's no question that Bronson is seriously entertaining, but songs like "Thug Love Story 2012" and "9-24-11" wove in some depth with the insane free association, puns and punch lines. I certainly won't say some ignorant nonsense about this being indicative of laziness or contentment, but part of what makes Bam Bam's jams truly engaging is his frank, non-filtered openness. It would have been nice if Blue Chips 2 had more of it sprinkled throughout and not secluded at the end as an afterthought.

Overall I gotta say that, between the two, the first Blue Chips takes the cake. Though, then again, the first Blue Chips is a classic. So, it's hardly a knock on this piece. If these two mixtapes have done anything for anyone, it's been for the dude Party Supplies. Over almost two twenty-sets, he manages to keep the big man perpetually upright and animated (which, despite Action Bronson's seeming endless ability and rap acumen, is something his last two efforts with The Alchemist and Harry Fraud, respectively, have shown is harder than it seems). Party Supplies' production on Danny Brown's "Grown Up" indicates an even wider influence may be -- nay, should be -- in store. Use your Google and go get both Blue Chips 1 & 2. For once the sequel ain't nothin' to shake a stick at.