As far as movies go, Blue Chips ranks as one of the worst basketball films of all time, right at the bottom with other monstrosities like Air Bud and Like Mike. It’s a cinematic nightmare – the Ishtar of sports films. Yet for Action Bronson and Party Supplies it makes perfect sense. A film so bad it had no choice but to go in the other direction – counter culture at its finest.
Having already collaborated on the first installment, pairing up again with Party Supplies was a good move by Bronson. Most lyricists of his ilk like to cherry-pick producers so they can absorb fans by proxy, but by sticking to one, the two have the potential to build in the same tradition as Gangstarr or Madvillain.
The familiarity allows Bronson to be himself, and it plays out to perfection in the album’s teaser as well in “9-24-13,” which sees the short film narrated to a hollowed-out, half-baked flip of The Shirelles‘ “It’s Love That Really Counts:” [LISTEN]
Party Supplies offers a respectful palette of samples, some immediately recognizable and others relatively obscure, which does a good job of keeping Bronson on his toes. Having that equally goofy and talented counterpart brings out the best in him. It allows Bronson to feel comfortable talking about everything from fine dining and sports to smuggling drugs in his butt: [LISTEN]
The jokes carry on for the duration of the album, and it doesn’t get old. There’s a nice palpable synergy between the two. Party Supplies lobs a few gimmes to the plate, but will unexpectedly hurl a knee buckling curve ball when Bronson gets a little too comfy.
In “Contemporary Man” the two have it out as Party Supplies throws a litany of samples (five in all) at Bronson like Sandy Koufax to which Bronson retaliates by slapping verses up the middle like a young Tony Gwynn: [LISTEN]
The concern isn’t whether this is a good album or not. It most certainly is. And with it Bronson puts even more distance between himself and the Ghostface comparisons. The question is: where does he want to take it next? Does he want to let it grow organically like he’s prone to do or does he want to make a concerted effort to make this his number one. After all, he is a more experienced chef than MC. In other words there’s a lot of room for growth, and it’s up to him to decide what his next step will be.
For now though it’s proof that with a few simple ingredients and a lot of chemistry a relatively young voice can concoct some wonderful flavors. But can he pull it all together for a four-course meal? Bronson doesn’t have to get all Kendrick Lamar on us, but exploring other avenues of lyricism will extend his career for at least three more albums.