5 Check Your Head
Should I talk about this albums double-Platinum status? How about the three-year gap between productions after Paul’s Boutique? If your internet, pea brain, and time machine are functioning properly, I shouldn’t have to discuss “So What’Cha Want” or “Pass The Mic.” What’s most impressive here is the return of instrumentation. At a time when lines were clear and definitions were rigid, the Beastie Boys did what they wanted. Punk? Hip-hop? It didn’t matter; they were able to transcend social convention. The only thing that mattered to them was sincerity, integrity and the satisfaction of doing what they love. This album is “Finger Lickin’ Good” yall. “Namaste”!
4 Hello Nasty
Winning a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album and another for Best Rap Performance for a Duo or Group on “Intergalactic,” Hello Nasty brought the Beastie Boys back into the spotlight after a long four years between productions. I have no better words for “Remote Control” than epic, and that pretty much sums up this entire album. Although it has its cool moments like “Song For The Man,” “Just A Test,” and “Putting Shame In Your Game,” the majority of the album is vigorous and pell-mell, rivaling the pace of “Three MC’s and One DJ.”
3 Paul’s Boutique
It took a little longer for this album to achieve commercial success, but it immediately solidified the group’s presence amongst the hip-hop community. “Shake Your Rump”, in all its up-tempo, funk-tastic, break beat glory, illustrates their intensity. “Egg Man” demonstrates their playful side, “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” is a bit more somber, and “Hey Ladies” provides the fun-loving debauchery we all adore. Obviously dynamic and eclectic, this album is a great example of top notch Beastie Boys. The epitome of this is “High Plains Drifter,” typical Beasties.
2 Ill Communications
This album was basically the soundtrack to my teen years, and I know I’m far from the only one able to claim this. Once again, they kick the doors wide open and immediately bust in ready to rock. The opener “Sure Shot” is boisterous and compelling, “Tough Guy” gives a nod to their punk rock roots, and “Root Down” blends their hardcore origins with a jazzy, soulful, hip-hop flavor. I’ve yet to meet anyone unfamiliar with the “Sabotage” video, and if you’re one, well… What the hell is wrong with you? You’re on the internet right now. Stop what you are doing and join the rest of civilization. While you’re at it, check out “Get It Together” featuring Q-Tip. Pure hip-hop!
1 Licensed to Ill
Fresh out of the box, the Beastie Boys come fully equipped and ready for action. “Rhymin & Stealin” is raw, hard hitting and in your face. Kerry King from Slayer makes an appearance on “No Sleep till Brooklyn”, predating crossovers of this magnitude by years and kicking more ass than Chuck Norris. “Brass Monkey” is a party anthem (and an intoxicating beverage) and “Slow and Low” delivers as promised, but surprisingly hard and grating. I shouldn’t have to waste space discussing “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” or “Girls,” if I do, stop reading, speak a word to no one, and go find a time machine. It’s the only way to salvage your respectability.
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