Category: The Beastie Boys

Beastie Boys – License to Ill

ARTIST: Beastie Boys                                   220px-Licensed_to_ill

TITLE: Licensed to Ill

YEAR RELEASED: 1986

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #2 R&B, #7 UK

SINGLES: Hold It Now, Hit It (#55 R&B), The New Style (#22 R&B), Paul Revere (#34 R&B), Brass Monkey (#48 US, #83 R&B), (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party) (#7 US, #11 UK), No Sleep till Brooklyn (#14 UK), Girls (#34 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: She’s Crafty

LINEUP: Ad-Rock, MCA, Mike D. Kerry King famously played guitar on No Sleep till Brooklyn

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Fun, if problematic, debut long player album from punk group turned hip hop force.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After “Cookie Puss”, the Beastie Boys went through huge changes, as they decided to turn themselves from a snotty punk band to a snotty hip hop outfit. After a couple of singles and soundtrack appearances, they and Rick Rubin released this opus, which introduced hip hop to snotty suburban bros (ok, maybe not introduced, but made it OK for them to like).

So many great samples, so many great production moments, so so many great one-liners, and yet, it’s problematic. It’s hard, now, to listen to this at times, with the many references to violence and the rampant misogyny. But, were those references tongue in cheek? Maybe so.

I’m going with the tongue in cheek answer. It’s partly a product of the times, a parody at times of the culture of suburban white kids, and dang the rhymes are great. Even now, my best friend and I will bust out “Got six girlies in my Lincoln Continental” when we’re feeling fresh.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The move to hip hop was the impetus for Kate Schellenbach to leave the band, as there was no room for her anymore.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A: It’s got rhymes like Abe Vigoda.

Beastie Boys – Some Old Bullshit

ARTIST: Beastie Boys Beastie_Boys_-_Some_Old_Bullshit

TITLE:  Some Old Bullshit

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: #46 US

SINGLES: Cookie Puss

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Egg Raid on Mojo

LINEUP: Michael Diamond, Adam Yauch, Kate Schellenbach, John Berry – later Adam Horovitz replaced Berry.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: NYC punk rock band releases an 8-track EP, PBeastie_Boys_EP_cover_Polly_Wog_Stewolly Wog Stew, then after a subtle lineup change, releases the prank call single “Cookie Puss”.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I’m starting at the beginning for the Beastie’s, chronologically. This combines their EP and single that they made before turning to hip-hop.

You can tell the snotty attitude is there that would carry them through the first part of their more famous incarnation, but as a punk rock band they were snotty kits with guitars. The future Mike D. is the vocalist, Adam Yauch plays bass. When Horowitz joins, he replaces Berry at guitar.

I don’t think anything much more was expected of them, until “Cookie Puss” becomes an underground sensation. This leads them to adding more samples and rap into their sets, and well…there you go.220px-Cookypuss

The Polly Wog Stew EP isn’t that great, and “Cookie Puss” loses its charm on repeat listening. You don’t really need this whole thing, but “Egg Raid on Mojo” is definitely worth seeking out.

NOTES & MINUTAE: Kate Schellenbach, the drummer (who may be the best musician at this time and place) left the Beasties and later joined Luscious Jackson

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  No.

GRADE: C-: Laugh at “Cookie Puss” once, keep “Egg Raid on Mojo” and “Transit Cop”. The rest is exile worthy.