Tag Archives: Beastie Boys

9 of the best – sounds of 1994

As we approach the end of another year and the greatest hits that follow, I give you a compilation of sounds from 24 years ago. Britop was at its zenith, but the angelic voice of a Californian rose above all ….

Jeff Buckley – Grace

Oasis – Slide Away

Massive Attack – Protection

Blur – To The End

Mazzy Star – Fade Into You

The Dust Brothers – Chemical Beats

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

Grant Lee Buffalo – Mockingbirds

Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye


Honourable mentions also go to: Portishead for ‘Roads‘; Mazzy Star for ‘Fade Into You‘; Plush for ‘Found A Little Baby‘, Johnny Cash for ‘Drive On’, Jeff Buckley for ‘Grace‘; Blur for ‘End Of A Century‘; Pavement for ‘Cut Your Hair‘; Nas for ‘N.Y. State Of Mind’; Green Day for ‘Basket Case’; The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion for ‘Bellbottoms

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Beck – Where It’s At (1996)


It was 1996 and Beck released ‘Where It’s At’ as the lead single off his recently pressed album, Odelay. The song had all the hallmarks of its producers, the Dust Brothers. The sample of Mantronix’s ‘Needle to the Groove’ (“we’ve got two turntables and a microphone”) had echoes of their previous work with the Beastie Boys. I liked it a lot. The album would quickly become a classic. Have a great week.

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Beastie Boys – Intergalactic (1998)


Oh yes. ‘Intergalactic’ was the first single from their fifth studio album Hello Nasty. Released in May 1998, this was warped retro-futurism according to the NME. It was out there, with its lovely touches of Afrika Bambaataa and Manga. Have a great week.

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Beastie Boys – Shake Your Rump (1989)


The Beastie Boys 1989

The Mothership got me thinking about the masters of talking shit… Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA. (It doesn’t take much.) After the highly stylised Licensed to Ill, it would have been easy to see the Beasties become a gimmick and parody of themselves. But no; they moved themselves to the Pacific Coast, hooked up with the Dust Brothers and went long with a little timely reinvention. ‘Shake Your Rump’ may sound like another ‘Hold It Now, Hit It’, but notice how sophisticated the samples had become – there’s a cuíca in there FFS. And while Ad-Rock may have included more rhymes than Jamaica got mangoes, MCA’s delivery goes up a notch. ‘Shake Your Rump’ featured on the imperious Paul’s Boutique.

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Beastie Boys – Hold It Now, Hit It (1986)


Beastie Boys 1986

That Kool and the Gang sample, those lyrics. “Hold It Now, Hit It” was the first single from the Beastie Boys’ debut album Licensed to Ill. “Hip-hop, body rockin’, doing the do/Beer drinking, breath stinking, sniffing glue.” This was 1986. And it was just great.

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Wax Tailor – Positively Inclined (2007)


Wax Tailor

Christophe Le Saoût is a.k.a. Wax Tailor, the French producer and purveyor of turntablism, samples, strings etc. But the reason for this feature here is the pure and simple blend of the Beasties’ ‘Paul Revere’ over a loop of Kool & The Gang’s ‘Jungle Jazz’. The track ventures nowhere near the edge of trip hop journeyed by others a decade earlier, but I like it. ‘Positively Inclined’ features on his 2007 album Hope & Sorrow.

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Beastie Boys – Body Movin’ (1998)



“Came out rapping when I was born/Mom said rock it ’til the break of dawn/…Like a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape/I’m fine like wine when I start to rap”. Pure Beasties genius. These guys were the lyrical rhymenoceros and the hiphopopotamus amphibius. ‘Body Movin” was the second single from their fifth studio album Hello Nasty. Play, then repeat.

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Led Zeppelin – When The Levee Breaks (1971)


Led Zeppelin reborn

The drums, the drums. John Bonham’s percussion for ‘When The Levee Breaks’ was recorded in a stairwell at Headley Grange. The sound is gargantuan and became the signature break that the Beastie Boys used to open their freshman LP Licensed To Ill on ‘Rhymin’ and Stealin” (a.k.a. “Ali Baba and the forty thieves”). Led Zeppelin were famously forthcoming themselves when it came to using the work of other artists. The track is a reworking of a blues song written in 1929 by husband and wife Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie. It features at the end of Zep’s untitled fourth album.

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Beastie Boys – Ch-Check It Out (2004)

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Beasties Ch-Check It Out

Where 1998’s Hello Nasty was a head-spinning mix of futuristic sounds and alternative hip hop, To The 5 Boroughs was more for the purists. Beastie Boys’s 2004 album was no throwback, mind. This was now post-9/11 NYC and the Beasties had something to say about their beloved city without the need for so many effects. But as you will hear and see in ‘Ch-Check It Out’, they never lose their sense of humour. Will another band ever be so able at walking that line between credibility and self mockery? Probably not.

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Bob James – Take Me to The Mardi Gras (1975)

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Bob James

Bob James may be all about smooth jazz, but the rhythm he’d adopted by 1974-75 certainly had a hip and a hop. And by way of endorsement, his treatment of the Paul Simon-penned song ‘Take Me to the Mardi Gras’ (off the 1975 album Two) has become one of the most familiar samples in hip hop. According to whosampled.com, its bell and drum groove has been used 190 times, even surpassing his influential track ‘Nautilus’ and its tally of 160 times. When I hear ‘Take Me to the Mardi Gras’, I think of the early recordings of Run-D.M.C. and Beastie Boys’. Glorious.

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Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise (2011)


I start the week on a sad note. Adam “MCA” Yauch (in blue) was a big part of my formative years and will be greatly missed. ‘Make Some Noise’ is off last year’s Hot Sauce Committee Part Two – the Beastie Boys’ eighth studio album. The long player had been delayed because of MCA’s health troubles and the video’s use of friends marks his unavailability. The video’s wit also owed much to the style he’d established under his directorial pen name, Nathanial Hörnblowér. And the touching, gravelly intro of ‘Fight for Your Right’ is wistfully appropriate.

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Money Mark – Tomorrow Will Be Like Today (1998)

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Money Mark Ramos-Nishita met the Beastie Boys while fixing their gate. It turned out to be a great bit of luck. Money Mark worked with them on Check Your Head and Ill Communication. But it got better, Push the Button was released around the same time as the Hello Nasty world tour, giving Mark the opportunity to play as the opening act for the Beasties. The album’s opus is the VU-tinged ‘Tomorrow Will Be Like Today’. Timeless. Have a great week.

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Beastie Boys – Sabotage (1994)

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Beastie Boys

Beastie Boys’ classic video for ‘Sabotage’ is a homage to 1970′s crime dramas.  The Beasties are introduced as fictional characters, full of bravado, impact and facial hair.  “I can’t stand it/I know you planned it.” But what is there not to like?! It’s hard to define this song; Rolling Stone magazine called it a “bass-driven metallic rapfest”.

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Pavement – We Dance (1995)

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Pavement make me smile. Barmy lyrics, guitar din and lovely melodies – a strange brew. The 1994 long player Crooked Rain Crooked Rain was my introduction, followed by their more influential, noise-rock masterpiece Slanted and Enchanted. (I recommend this route to the uninitiated.) But it is the first track off their indulgent third album Wowee Zowee that I feature here. “There is no castration fear… pick out some brazilian nuts for your engagement…maybe we could dance together”. Just as with the Beastie Boys, I get the feeling that the sound of the words is more important than their meaning. Actually, nothing like the Beasties at all.

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