Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rhymin & Stealin: Words on the Beastie Boys (1980's)

If the Beastie Boys would have followed their 1986 goof-hop debut License To Ill with another collection of high-twined, consciously-obnoxious, ego-tippin', rock-rap songs, then they probably would have drifted into hip hop history as a kind of joke for being the three white kids from upper-middle class Brooklyn who unintentionally spear-headed frat-rap. Not to say I don't love License To Ill-- I do, it's a fucking classic--but the Boys needed something to back up their words. Or maybe not, because no matter what anyones says about the Beasties, there will always be something hilarious about three white dudes who really just love to party shouting lines like "Father to many, married to none/And in case you're unaware I carry a gun", and then follow it up with "Because bad news is what we're all about/We went to White Castle and got thrown out".

Paul's Boutique then, released in '89, followed License. They still love girls, drinking Buds and pretending they're outlaws ("High Plains Drifter"), but, in part because of their collaboration with the Dust Brothers, the sampling and beats are undeniably revolutionary for late 80's. It may be part of the reason to why the record flopped upon release. What kinds of frat brethren want to drunkenly dance and mack to songs about a K-Mart shoplifter cruisin' through the countryside, swearing he'll "bust a Travis Bickle when I feel I'm getting pushed"? "Sound of Science" shows off the best Beatles sample I've ever heard, "Hey Ladies" is simply funky as hell, and the 13-minute closer suite "B-Boys Bouillabaisse" includes tales of Mike D chasing tail and getting drunk at a Red Lobster.

If License To Ill is the introduction to the Beastie's world, begging the questions, "are these guys just joking around?", "did Ad-Rock really pop that guy in the back?", then Paul's Boutique is their masterpiece. Of course he didn't pop a dude in the back. And of course they are joking, but only kind of. Because after all, the music is really just a goddamned blast to listen to. And I will never stop fighting for my right -- for my right to party.

"If I played guitar, I'd be jimmy Page/ All the girlies I like are underage. Check it!"
find the two greats below


  1. pauls boutique (1989):

    license to ill (1986):