Blue Chips 2 starts with a sample that the Heatmakerz could have pilfered for Dipset in 2003. And it all makes sense in some cosmic “just feels right” sort of way because Cam’ron and Bronson are both colorful rappers with rabid internet fanbases that craft bars that lend themselves to mimicry and online idolization.
Action Bronson’s lyrics can be anything from mini stories, to descriptors in an Ebay listing: “crocodile silk” to the title of an Ebay listing: “Mark McGwire shirt.” He’s a rapping tumblr archive. He gives you images. He’s cutting a ribbon with a politician. Oh, and there’s Gary Sinise’s face. He raps over music that Generation Y will remember from The Sandlot. And there goes a Pulp Fiction reference waving to an uncomfortable muppet baby.
He’s rap’s most interesting man despite not being a graying, suited up alcohol company manifestation. He tells a ton of tales and changes the subject constantly. Verse one is loosely connected to verse two, and yet the style is consistent enough that verse one of song one is similar to verse two on song 12. It’s why you can never argue that he plays by the rules of standard songwriting. He does what rappers used to do on DJ Clue freestyles for entire songs. You can argue the man doesn’t have many traditional beginning, middle and end tracks in his catalog, but it’s also why he’s successful. And it’s why you can hammer off a block of any of his verses and get a standalone picture that’s perfectly suited for quotation marks inside a tweet. Quotability is a large part of hip hop lyricism and there’s few if any (another way of saying I can’t think of a current equal) rappers out there with more “did you hear that” fodder than Bronson.
Philly’s Most Wanted wasn’t a group composed of two great lyricists, and they weren’t the biggest gangsters to ever distribute cocaine, but they had Neptunes beats. 11 of them. Get Down or Lay Down, their debut album, was released in the summer of 2001, when Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo had their musical DNA in every crevice of the radio. And the Philadelphia duo of Boo-Bonic and Mr. Man had a song about trafficking narcotics called “Cross The Border.” And then they had a song called “Please Don’t Mind” about “how thugs do.” It was the latter that compelled me to cop their album when it was released that August.
It was a time when rappers were judged by their throwbacks as well as how cleverly they spun lines about guns, drugs, and coitus (but it’s still kinda that time, perhaps minus the firearms). And they tried their best, with Boo-Bonic giving you such punchlines as “dick like good advice it can go a long way.” And there was Pharrell on “Dream Car” saying that the price of admission to enjoy the panoramic view of his automobile equipped with a VHS player was “ha-ha” (and if that’s too vague for you he goes on to remark that impressively he has an airbag “designed for head”).
It was nothing more than an east coast street rap album in the early aughts. It featured Beanie Sigel, Clipse, Fabolous, Kelis, and Rosco P. Coldchain over the same guitars that brought you N.O.R.E.’s “Superthug.” It was forgotten by many, never known by many more, and caused the “Piece of The Pie” skit to be embedded in my brain. And after all of this Nas rapped the curious line “did Jungle kidnap Philly’s Most Wanted” which we never really got the answer to.