Honestly kind of surprised we haven’t posted on Action Bronson before, but this dude is everywhere so it would be more surprising if you hadn’t come across him already elsewhere. Action Bronson reps NYC to the fullest, sometimes catching flack for a style that is eerily similar to the legendary Ghostface. Personally, I’ve come to appreciate Bronson’s own unique flavor; his history as a chef shines with frequent food-centric raps and an off-beat sense of humor.
Blue Chips 2 is the second mixtape collaboration between Action Bronson and producer Party Supplies. The first Blue Chips was an instant classic, and the sequel delivers more of the same, riding the line between goofball samples and hard-edged classic NY raps. The sound shows a true appreciation for hip-hop, but where most producers are looking for rare and unknown samples, Party Supplies has fun flipping something so obvious you would never expect it; check Pepe Lopez for a ridiculous but effective loop of Tequila. This collaboration is basically what hip-hop is all about, beats that knock and clever rhymes that catch you off-guard. This mixtape had me hitting rewind every 30 seconds, alternating between deciphering slang and chuckling at a pop culture reference. Check this line from Flip Ya:
“Take the world over, sit AC Slater style on your girl’s shoulder,
then have a cold soda, if you ain’t with me roll over”
Do you know how many pills I had to take this morning to be able to get out of bed? It’s now that time of the year when it’s so cold and gray out when you wake, that you consider quitting life every day just to be able to stay under the covers for another few hours. Just about the only thing you can do is put on a song that sounds like being back in bed and shut your eyes all the way to work. This 1978 living room cover track sounds like the lap of your mother, sitting next to a fireplace during a thick snow. Did you ever wonder what heroin feels like? It feel like this song running along the inside of your body for hours. Fuck, I think I just talked myself out of recovery by writing a blog post.
I never got into Nipsey Hussle before, so I was a little shocked to hear that the LA-based rapper leans so heavily on the dirty south sound. Even with a title like Crenshaw, most of beats sound like Cory Mo could have produced them, and the mixtape is even hosted by DJ Drama, complete with the typical borderline-offensive smattering of “GANGSTA GRIZ-ILLS” vocal clips. While most of LA is hooked on the left-field beats from Flying Lotus, it’s interesting to hear someone taking a serious look at the classic Houston sound.
So despite all the potential hazards, Nipsey Hussle actually comes out on top by featuring legit Houston legends like Slim Thug and ZRo. That kind of authentic respect for the sound that he’s borrowing from is rare in the rap game; even A$AP Rocky will only occasionally admit to basically dropping any NYC style in favor of the chopped and screwed Southern flavor. The whole Crenshaw mixtape is solid, Nipsey Hussle’s own verses are consistent and clever, but the tape really shines with the stacked guest MCs and the variety of producers. ZRo’s chorus on Go Long one of the best hooks since Nate Dogg died, and Face The World has a classic soul loop that puts 9th Wonder in the same ranks as Pete Rock and Premier.
It’s rare to hear a rap mixtape that bleeds quality start to finish, especially from a rapper working with so many artists outside of his immediate area. The result is a solid mixtape that feels serious without getting corny or overly hard, there are moments of poignant honesty mixed in with effortless braggadocio. Funny that the best dirty south mixtape all year would come from LA, but I’m not complaining.
//Bipolar Sunshine – Drowning Butterflies | released on The Aesthetic Recording
This has all the makings to be huge; Twangy spring-reverb guitars, clever sad-sack project name, fragile falsetto vocals, and a cheap-as-free public domain clip collage for the video. It’s solid, in that chill-wave softness kind of way. Maybe a bit melodramatic, but the great vocal call and response breakdown is like chill-wave anthem material, so I love it. This is the kind of stuff that makes you want to make mixtapes for your crush and go driving around late on a Tuesday taking the fork in the road you never do and get lost.
Hitting the UK scene during the mid-late 80s first-wave indie pop boom, James Dean Driving Experience seemed poised for greater things than just being considered “influential” by micro-scenes a decade or two later. With witty lyrics, that DIY C-86 jangle-pop sound (think early Wedding Present or Close Lobsters) and a ton of good press, they blew out after only a few years with only a wafer-thin back catalog of awesome tracks (consisting of a flexi, a self-released cassette and three EPs) to show for it.
Just grabbed this Japan-only import track off their version of 6 Feet Beneath The Moon. Why this song isn’t on the actual album is beyond me, but at least Archie was nice enough to tell the internet that it existed. I was pretty hard on the album, but I still love this dude.
Rest easy buddy. You were a really good guy and no matter how many times we write a post like this, it never gets any easier. From Art Museums to Whysp and The Lowdown, you had so much to share that it was an honor to have been able to experience some of it. I bet you were a real good librarian too.
Mark made a great Art Museums post a few years back if you want more.
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