With the Beastie Boys releasing their new album this month, it reminded me of how much I love this trio. Ad Rock, Mike D and MCA. These three have continually stayed true to themselves throughout a career with more longevity than many other hip hop stars.
The two albums I literally grew up on and got me into hip hop from an early age were Paul’s Boutique and Wu Tang’s 36 Chambers. Others of my favourites from this time were Doggystyle and Black Sunday. I still listen to all four of these albums now, but the difference with the Beasties is that they continue to surprise me and entertain.
Since these iconic albums the other artists or collectives haven’t gone on to replicate the same standard of album. With Wu-Tang this is a difficult one, individually members have gone on to record great albums like Raekwon’s Only built for Cuban Linx, GZA’s Liquid Swords etc, but as a collective the heights of 36 Chambers haven’t been hit.
Snoop has done some great tunes; don’t get me wrong I still love Snoop. But since Doggystyle he’s never gone on to create an album of greatness, however, following this album its near on impossible such is it’s class; which is why his show at the Manchester International Festival in a couple of months where he’ll perform Doggystyle from start to finish will be epic.
And so that gets me back to Beastie Boys. Paul’s Boutique may have inspired me, but such offerings since as Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty, The Mix Up and now Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 show their class and ability to change their style while still holding onto their thoughts and philosophy.
For me this couldn’t be shown better than in Paul’s Boutique. After the success of Licence to Ill they fucked off from NYC and Def Jam, recording the album in LA and bringing a totally different style. Hooking up with Mario C and the Dust Brothers and making an album of intricate samples layered together representing the place they were at, at that time. Smoking weed, drinking copious amounts of red wine and running round town egging people, hence the tune Egg Man – listen to the lyrics its brilliant. To me everyone involved in hip hop nowadays could learn a lesson from the B Boys, Paul’s Boutique wasn’t a success, I think only one single was released and the album struggled initially. But they made it cos they wanted to make it. After Licence to Ill there was all the expectation around them, they said fuck that!
This is why I love the Beastie’s and will be bumping their album for the coming months.
Here is a selection of my favourite Beastie’s tunes, Enjoy!
Shake your Rump
Get it together
Sounds of Science
High Plains Drifter