Last year, producer Party Supplies and New York rapper Action Bronson teamed up for a spectacular mix tape inexplicably named after a 1994 Nick Nolte film called “Blue Chips.”
That mixtape was my introduction to the world of Bronson and it was a doozy. A few weeks ago, the duo — termed as Action Supplies — returned with a sequel to the gritty masterpiece, “Blue Chips 2.” Despite being recorded in “the same spot in Williamsburg,” as Party Supplies claimed in an interview with Nahright.com, they are not entirely able to capture the same off-the-cuff brilliance of the first mix.
Bronson himself continues to be an interesting character. His rhymes lend themselves to grandiose storytelling, complete with “drug deals in a rental rented from AVIS,” in the slick-riding track “Practice,” and a “Russian mistress and Parisian wife,” in track “Midget Cough.” To say the least, Bronson raises rap arrogance to a ridiculous level.
What gives Bronson’s horn-tooting interesting nuance is the strange culinary sophistication he injects into his rhymes. Fun fact — Bronson was an acclaimed professional chef before he started his rap career. On “9-24-13,” presumably a sequel to the magical “9-24-12” on the first “Blue Chips,” Bronson sneakily slips in references to desserts like baklava and cinnamon ginger cake. In insta-classic track “Contemporary Man,” he shares with us of his fondness for “soup with the cow feet,” and “(ordering) up a feast for four.”
Of course, you might not recognize many of the rhymes in “Contemporary Man,” because it is a track that Party Supplies more or less owns with his back and forth production. Within the four minutes, eight seconds of the song, Party Supplies changes up the beat six times, each time looping a sample from a popular 80’s song, including “Sledgehammer” and “Sussudio.” It’s an amazing song, and Bronson keeps up with the changes beautifully.
Party Supplies more or less keeps up rather well over the rest of the album. “Pepe Lopez” drags The Champs’ “Tequila” out of the grave for a breezy, upbeat track that Bronson skates over masterfully. “The Don’s Cheek” slows it down with an Easter-tinged vibe that is a little reminiscent of early Wu-Tang Clan. Aforementioned “Midget Cough” is one of the smoothest songs on the album. “Rolling Thunder” tries but is never able to match the introspective, vocal beat of “9-24-12” from the original mix, but it sure does try.
Much of the production on the album follows the same throughline: samples that are a bit too obvious and loops that aren’t as entirely urgent as they could have been. In addition, several of the tracks have odd commercial interludes that drain whatever momentum the album does manage to build.
Overall, “Blue Chips 2” is a fun album, especially when it comes to Bronson’s lyricism, but the duo is still never quite able to make a proper return to the masterful form of their first outing.