making some noise for the beastie boys

i know i’m a little late for this, but in case you live in a cave (like any self-respecting yogi) the beastie boys have come out with a new album: hot sauce committee, part 2. don’t ask where part 1 went, i don’t know (inside joke: it doesn’t exist).

i’m not an obsessive follower or connoisseur of music or rap and i don’t know a lot about the beastie boys as a group, but i love them. i’ve been listening to them a lot lately during my commutes to pretoria twice a week, so i’m going to make some noise…here’s why:

1. they’re my age, a little older (i.e. over 40). i remember listening to them for the first time on a marching band trip (stop laughing!), head-banging to ‘you gotta fight! for your right! to paaaaaarrrtty!’ that was circa 1988 (license to ill came out in 1986). i remember getting my proto-feminist knickers in a knot with ‘girls’ and ‘she’s crafty’, but now i think ‘she’s crafty’ is one of the funniest songs i’ve ever heard (‘she said her name was lucy, but they all called her loose!’).

2. they don’t rap about titties, bitches, hos, pimps, putting caps in people’s asses, etc. ok, yes there are quite a few references to guns and caps (and laaaadies) in license to ill and paul’s boutique (espPaul Revere), 1989, but it’s tongue-in-cheek and pokes fun at all those lame-ass posers. i hate lame-ass posers (yoga people aside)! so i’m going to write those albums off to their adolescent boy phase.

3. they do rap about stuff i grew up with (‘flame on, i’m gone’, hello nasty, 1998) making references to tv shows and commercials (“nothing’s impossible, i taught my dog to say ‘i love you: rrri rrrooo ruuuu'” (ill communication, 1994), movies, personalities, and events that are sort of my mac & cheese (comfort food). some of the references i don’t even get until i’ve listened a few times and remember, nostalgically, why it feels so familiar.

4. i’ve never liked NYC, but when i finally got there i felt like i had stepped into all the beastie boys albums at once (‘the albion square mall, brooklyn, downtown’, to the 5 boroughs, 2004)! they really love their home town and i can respect that. their ‘an open letter to NYC’ is a cool send up to post-911 NYC. so the beastie boys kinda made me love new york city.

5. they’re intelligent and politically conscious (‘the kyoto treaty he decided to neglect’, to the 5 boroughs). what a relief (see #2)! and they’re for sharing music on-line. and they like to invite other artists to work with them on their albums. and they don’t advertise (‘and you’ll never see me in the advertising’, to the 5 boroughs). i get the sense that they’re really trying to get the global community interacting together in a positive way (U.N.I.T.E!, hello nasty). peace!

6. MCA raps a lot about different kinds of cheese and star trek. i also like cheese and star trek so i can identify. ‘gorgonzola, provolone, don’t even get me started on this microphone!’ and ‘communicator check, one two, one two…’ from to the 5 boroughs (2004) come to mind, but there are plenty of others. i like MCA’s voice, it’s rough and smooth all at the same time.

7. Mike D was interviewed in ashtanga, NY, he’s an ashtangi! that makes him, and by extension the rest of the b-boys, totally awesome! mike D (and the rest) can practice at Ekam anytime.

8. i think because they’re a bit older, and a bit wiser, and have done some yoga, and might even be vegetarian, a lot of their lyrics have hidden yogic gems in them: ‘and she said, dark is not the opposite of light, it’s the absence of light, and i thought to myself…she knows what she’s talking about…’ (check your head, 1992, the song is called namaste).

9. they mix styles and sounds and licks and tricks. they love the bass (‘and if you ask me turn up the bass’, hello nasty). an album, or even a track, can go from rap to jazz to punk to reggae to latin and back again. they don’t take themselves too seriously, but they take music very seriously. i can’t help but move my body (body movin’!) to most of their songs, their albums aren’t just a bunch of tracks, they’re an experience.

10. they’ve endured for over 20 years, and they’re still fresh and fun and make me look at the world in a new way. i love, love, luuuuuuurve them!

a recent funny link: the onion infographic.

a short list of my favorite tracks (and i still need to get a few of their albums):

  • she’s crafty, license to ill
  • shadrach, paul’s boutique
  • lighten up, funky boss, check your head
  • body movin’, unite, i don’t know, 20 questions version, hello nasty (it’s a long album)
  • sabotage (used in Star Trek 0!), get it together (with q-tip from TCQ), ill communication
  • hey f*?# you, crawlspace, to the 5 boroughs
  • i like that the mix up is just instrumental, it’s nice to groove to
  • make some noise, ok, hot sauce committee, part 2

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