What can I say, I’m a middle aged white guy who grew up in the 80’s. How can I not believe the greatest rap group of all-time is the Beastie Boys. I love DeLaSoul and totally respect what Public Enemy brought to the world, but to me no rap group can touch the quality of releases the Beastie Boys produced. From License to Ill to Paul’s Boutique to Check Yo Head to Ill Communication, it was a remarkable 4 straight album run that stacks up against against anyone that has recorded music over the past 30 years for originality and taking chances.
1.Sabotage- This was the first great rap song I can recall mixing rap music with punk rock edge. It’s roars like Rage Against Machine at the start, but still has all the 3 leads MC fun of the Beasties. Of course the video by Spike Jonze is an all-timer, so it just is about perfect in all levels. Nathan Wind as Cochese.
2. Shake Your Rump- While Paul’s Boutique didn’t have the pop-friendly elements that their major label debut had, the depth of samples keeps this sounding way more fresh than their more known original hits. The bass line funk alone is slammin’. Impossible to listen to this gem without doing what the title requests.
3. So Wat’cha Want- 60’s organ fills with Led Zeppelin-like guitar riffs just circle around this song to add a drug den feel to it’s distorted vocals. More creative than almost every grunge song that came out at the time.
4. Sure Shot- I’m sucker for a some acid jazz samples below rap songs. The mix of this with the menacing MC style is hypnotic. You can’t and you won’t and you don’t stop. I got mad hits like I’m Rod Carew.
5. Fight for Your Right (to Party)- To think this came out in 1986. Rick Rubin and the Beastie Boys were right at the beginning mixing rap and rock guitar. Holds up better than Run DMC’s Rock Box.
6. Hey Ladies- 70’s funk grooves are in perfect union with the funny, party feel of this song. Get Funky. (ring the cowbell)
7. Intergalatic- This one has a modern Daft Punk groove, but I love most the old school rap call and response the Boys bring here.
8. Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun- This is one badass groove. Put on your iPad, press play on this, and walk down and major city street and you I promise you feel like you are starring in your own Blaxploitation flick.
9. Brass Monkey- I could not tell you what the hell is happening here. It is classic 80’s Hip-Hop jam, all while being produced like an 80’s indie record. If the Marx Bros made a rap record, this is what the final product would be.
10. Jimmy James- This next is a first song on our new album says Robin Zander. JJ is DJ anarchy as the samples and live music battle each other spinning at perfect pace.
11. Ch-Ch-Check It Out- From their last record, it shows the band hadn’t lost a step. They went old schoolly to blaze behind the mic.
12. Stand Together- Another distorted funk number that is so tight and nasty you would think Prince wrote it. Love the psychedelic touches.
13. She’s Crafty- The Ocean by Led Zeppelin is the key to this song. Seems fair they ripped it off considering how much Zeppelin borrowed.
14. Body Movin’- Slammin’ grooves like Moby and Fatboy Slim got ahold of the Beasties.
15. Funky Boss– Get off my back. This is the song they show off their kickass band groove.
16. Shadrach- The Funky Drummer is the layer below this, while the Dust Brothers add one sample after another. Love the female singing at the end.
17. Egg Man- Paul’s Boutique has a movie soundtrack feel and the samples on it here are as essential as the one’s on Dark Side of the Moon. Inspired.
18. Girls- Remember when rap had a nursery rhyme feel. This one has lyrics like they were written by Jerry Lewis on a misogynist rant.
19. Finger Lookin’ Good- I had forgotten how much Check Your Head was tight and groovy. The Beasties are tearing it up on this one.
20. No Sleep Til Brooklyn- The song kicked ass right out of the gate, with its Slayer guitar riff and if you heard it in 1986, you might put it at the top of the list. Like most 80’s songs, it doesn’t hold up so well, as the drum machine takes away from it–but it still needs to on the list.