Action Bronson is an acquired taste - or so I've heard. Up until this point, he's one of the few borderline mainstream rappers who I've bypassed, not out of malice, but simply out of attrition. In the meantime, he has become a cross-platform star, landing a few of his own shows on VICELAND, which has seemingly taken control of his public persona. On "Blue Chips 7000," it was time for the rapper to return to his roots, branches and all.

About the album

"Blue Chips 7000" is the second retail album for the rapper during his time with Vice Records. It follows in the lineage of other "Blue Chips" mixtapes, known for their bombastic style and freewheeling sampling.

Action Bronson did move away a bit from Party Supplies, his chief producer throughout most of his career.

It's Action Bronson's first studio release since 2015's "Mr. Wonderful," which reached the seventh slot on the Billboard 200 and earned positive reviews from critics.

Action Bronson finds his groove

As Action Bronson has seen his celebrity grow through his television appearances, a weird disconnect has formed in his music, where the raps seem to lack the same flavor shared on the screen. It's almost as if he hasn't been saving his bullets for the musical side of things, which once appeared to be his priority. He redeems some of that on "Blue Chips 7000."

The most striking part of the album is the use of the samples and instrumentals to create a vibrant musical landscape.

It's not uncommon for rappers to do that on a few tracks of an album, but Action Bronson seems to switch it up on every single track of "Blue Chips 7000," perhaps an homage to his diverse upbringing in Queens, New York.

It comes through most clearly on "The Chairman's Intent." The guitar loop works wonders as Action Bronson reminds the world that they don't know him, rapping "Two pumps from the inhaler got me feeling like Lawrence Taylor/Two kisses on the cheek for my tailor/I got the soul of an Amazon Healer."

His willingness to try different genres for his beats works wonders.

The very next song, "Hot Pepper," features Jamaican singer Jah Tiger and combines dancehall and reggae elements in a perfect blend. Previously, "La Luna" presents a challenge for Action Bronson has he raps over the dial tone, creating an effect of distance. No two songs sound similar to each other, though "Let Me Breathe" and "The Choreographer" have slight resemblances.

"Blue Chips 7000" also features an artist whose extroversion outside of his music can be a surprising mirage. He admits that he would give up his vital organ to dunk a basketball on "My Right Lung." But then he flips on "Bonzai," stating "I might hang off the side of the mountain to trim a bonsai/Perfect 10 on the swan dive."

Where 'Blue Chips 7000' goes wrong

With the exception of "Hot Pepper," the album would actually function better without features. The appearances of Big Body Bes hold his two tracks back. Rick Ross chokes "9-24-7000" into a state of ordinariness. There are enough samples on "Blue Chips 7000" that additional voices feel unnatural if they don't add to the landscape Action Bronson is trying to build.

There are also moments where Action Bronson pivots towards a more pop-oriented sound. It's not the same as the disastrous singing on "Mr. Wonderful," but it still has bogus attempts at mainstream predilections, never more noticeable than the strip club ooze of "Let Me Breathe."

By the end of "Blue Chips 7000," things begin to get really choppy - a track named "Chop Chop Chop" that remixes an old nursery school rhyme is evidence of that. The threads that hold the album together begin to come undone. The album is short as it is - 13 songs, with only one crossing the four-minute mark - but it still finishes a beat too late.

Final thoughts on 'Blue Chips 7000'

"Blue Chips 7000" is a triumph for a rapper gradually working around his self-created restraints.

He sounds much freer on this album, much more comfortable with what he wants to do with the music side of his career. This will mark the end of the "Blue Chips" series of albums and mixtapes, but Action Bronson has shown enough that it would be a worthwhile investment for him to renegotiate the time spent on television projects in favor of his music career.

Best Song: "La Luna" - The alienating soundtrack in the background adds an element of genuine power from Action Bronson.

Worst Song: "TANK" (feat. Big Body Bes) - This is where "Blue Chips 7000" begins to untangle.

Rating: B+