It is hard to believe that the Beastie Boys have been around for over three decades. Starting as a punk band in New York City in 1979, they had moderate success but transitioned to hip-hip in 1984. This trio has done something that very few hip-hop artists have been able to do…stay relevant.
Burning with a new life and a relaxed disposition, the boys from Brooklyn have created something close to perfection with Hot Sauce Committee Part II. Originally to be released as a two part companion set, the Hot Sauce Series was put on hold in 2009 when the band announced that Adam Yauch, better known as MCA, was diagnosed with cancer. Now in remission and ready to go, Yauch and the boys put together what would have been a piece of both albums to release Part II.
Yauch, Michael Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) have put out an album that artists half their age would beg to sniff, let alone release. They let the listener know pretty quickly that they are not youngsters with lyrics like “Oh, my God, just look at me/Grandpa been rapping since ’83!” There are numerous old school references throughout, from mentioning Kenny Rogers Roasters to having a song with Lee Majors in the title (yes kids, google him). They are three middle-aged Jewish guys that can still tear it up and have absolutely no issue with aging.
The eighth studio release comes out hard and does not let the listener go for 16 tracks. There is no doubt that this could be anything but a Beastie Boys album. Whether it is the genre-blurring from punk and rock to hip-hop and reggae or the combination of synthesizers and samples with actual instrumentation, this album brings out the best in everything Beastie.
Nobody can replicate the dirty mixing and production that we first heard on “Pass the Mic” and “Sure Shot” that are a staple here on HSCII. The vocals are slightly distorted and the whole album is very heavy on the bottom end. As in the track “Funky Donkey,” this whole album could be filed “under funky.” The boys don’t forget their punk roots with tracks like “Lee Majors Come Again.”
The opening track, “Make Some Noise” sets the tone with one of the funkiest grooves the trio has produced since 1998’s “Intergalactic.” It is physically not possible to sit still while blasting this track from any system. “Nonstop Disco Powerpack” harkens back to De La Soul gives a shout out to some of the pioneers like Spoonie Gee, Rammellzee and K-Rob.
The album features two guests. Nas is featured on “Too Many Rappers” sparking memories of Q-tip on “Get It Together.” Santigold works with the boys on “Don’t Play No Game I Can’t Win,” a sweet reggae tune.
Beastie fans have been waiting a long time for a killer album from the trio. The time has finally come. The Boys are at home and comfortable in their element on HSCII, and for that fans around the world will be thankful.
By Victor AlfieriBeastie Boys – Make Some Noise by Wave of Sounds