Three Old Dudes and a Microphone
The Beastie Boys are now in their mid-40s. They’re not old old, but in the youth dominated world of rap, they are old. Ad-Rock and MCA have grey hair. Mike D doesn’t exactly look like he did 20 years ago. They are basically old men compared to some of today’s current stars. They released Licensed To Ill in 1986, which is the year that current chart topper Waka Flocka Flame was born. They are aware of their aging status too. Ad-Rock says "Oh, my God, just look at me/Grandpa been rapping since '83!" on the new album.
Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
The Beastie Boys’ latest release is titled Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. Apparently, the original plan was to release a two part album, with Hot Sauce Committee Part One being released back in 2009, but it looks like plans have changed and Part One may or may not be released. They released a great album promo for Part Two, with an unbelievable cast and a huge list of cameos. Here’s the short version, featuring the song “Make Some Noise.”
The Beastie Boys have always excelled at tag team rhyming. If they put out solo albums they probably wouldn’t be all that enjoyable. They sound best when they are trading bars with each other and finishing each other’s lines. They’ve also never been the greatest lyricists, but they’re entertaining and they’ve all had their moments of genius. Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is definitely not their strongest effort lyrically, but musically it’s great. The majority of the music is played with live instruments, but you can still hear their sample/breakbeat past in the production. They always had a knack for sequencing and structuring songs with lots of little things floating in and out of the mix.
Don’t Forget Their Back Catalog
My two favorite Beastie Boys albums are Paul’s Boutique and Check Your Head. Paul’s Boutique is amazing, simply because of the incredible amount of records they managed to sample on this album. Paul’s Boutique came out at a time when sampling laws weren’t fully established and it was still kind of like the wild wild west. The Dust Brothers, who also produced monster hits like Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing,” Young MC’s “Bust a Move,” and Hanson’s “MMM Bop” (kind of surprising), threw a little bit of everything in here. The most amazing part is that it was all done with very limited technology. This was all turntables, tape machines, primitive samplers, and a ton of creativity. There’s a great book in the 33 1/3 series about Paul’s Boutique that explains a lot of the creation of this record. Check Your Head is the Beastie Boys going back to their roots as musicians and it’s a weird mix of rap songs and punk songs that magically never find their way into the dreaded lands of rap-rock groups like Limp Bizkit.
Licensed To Ill has some great songs on it, but overall it’s kind of got an obnoxious immaturity about it. I’m sure they’d be the first to admit this too. “Paul Revere” is pretty timeless in my opinion, but some of the other songs have not aged as well. Ill Communication and Hello Nasty were good, but I started to lose interest around this time. I never really gave any of the following albums a fair chance, but I’ve always liked most of what they do. They’ve reinvented themselves many times and it’s been pretty interesting each time. They’ve also got a great sense of humor, as evidenced in their music videos and I can appreciate that.
Check out the Hot Sauce Committee Part Two or rediscover one of their older albums. I’ll leave you with the Beastie Boys cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” featuring Biz Markie on vocals.
Tommy M. listened to Paul’s Boutique over and over in middle school.