Ill Communicators

Politics and the Beastie Boys dont mix

Beastie Buys

Somehow, the Beastie Boys were able to follow up the success of "Fight for Your Right"—and the still-mounting millions of records that Licensed to Ill sold—with some of the best and most artistic hip-hop (or not) albums ever released. Like:

Paul's Boutique (Capitol, 1989): Arguably the B-Boys' best record, Paul's Boutique bombed on the sales charts—it was so good it took people years to understand. Constructed during the time when you couldn't get sued for sampling, the boys connected with the Dust Brothers to make an album with samples galore, including the Beatles, Johnny Cash and the slashing scene from Psycho. Check Your Head (Capitol 1992): Following a long hiatus, the boys picked up their instruments for the first time since their punk days and put out a 20-track masterpiece that jumps from hip-hop to jazz to funk and punk with deftness and vision that not many fans of Licensed to Illwould've ever expected. Aglio E Olio(Toshiba EMI, 1999): After the success of Ill Communication, the Beastie Boys ducked into a studio in New York and recorded this nine-track, 13-minute hardcore EP, a kind of an homage to their roots. Not quite as raw and gritty as the tracks collected on Some Old Bullshit, but tight and fast nonetheless. Country Mike's Greatest Hits (Unknown, 1999): With dreams of becoming a country and western singer, Mike D took matters into his own hands with this recently rereleased vinyl-only collection of country hits. Yes, it's odd, obscure and actually not bad in a campy kind of way—sort of like Batman doing the Batusi! To the 5 Boroughs (Capitol, 2004): The biggest knock on this record is that it's too hip-hop. What? Did anybody call Miles Davis too cool or the Kinks too pop? Returning to form, the boys deliver a heartfelt ode to their hometown.

Alex Roman

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