Early in his career, Action Bronson couldn’t escape Ghostface comparisons. Both inflect their hip-hop with a distinctive growl and cadence, and they share passions for the ribald and taboo. But the rapper born in Flushing as Arian Asllani has gone a long way to forge his own identity—and not just because he’s a portly white guy with a great big red beard.
Blue Chips, from 2012, is his masterstroke thus far. Done in conjunction with Party Supplies (producer Justin Nealis, since joined by Sean Mahon), the mixtape takes its name from a little-remembered 1994 basketball film starring Nick Nolte and Shaquille O’Neal. Bronson whisks through themes and references, taking aim at Steve Wynn, food and marijuana, among many other subjects. His verbal performance on “Hookers at the Point” is as virtuosic as they come: rhymes moving as quickly as prostitutes on the job.
Last year saw a lesser sequel, but there’s little question of Bronson’s aptitude. For a man who has yet to release a studio full-length (it’s supposed to come out this year), he’s accomplished a great deal. Here’s hoping the major labels don’t muck it up.
Action Bronson opens for the Lox at Best Buy Theater Mar 26.
Follow Colin St. John on Twitter: @weneedthedude
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