Beastie Boys Beastie BoysHot Sauce Committee Part Two
Play. Track 1. “Make Some Noise”. A playful loop, crushing, B-movie sound. It’s a nervous organ line. The drums sounds uproariously. You’re in. A tickle in the sternum. The back of your neck is moving. AD Rock attacks, then comes Mike D with his high-pitched voice, and MCA interrupts with that broken style: blimey, they’ve done it again, they still are the masters. Don’t ever leave them for dead. To consider them an anachronism is a big mistake. There are fads, trends, cycles, and then there’s Beastie Boys.
In times of pop mutation in the world of rhyming, in the middle of the black baroque era for the clubs, it’s astonishing to witness the freshness and vigour the old formula still pulls out. It’s obvious that, 25 years after their debut, the New York threesome can be considered bosses of their own style, a kind of music that transcends the limits of hip-hop for connoisseurs and keeps attracting listeners from different scenes, many of them seemingly incompatible with each other. The combination of white funk, old school style back-and-forth rhyming, garage instrumentation, nerdy humour and punk attitude still gives their creations a dimension no other band is capable of achieving, with such simple nomenclature, in the ever more intricate periodic table of rap.
We’re dealing with a record of which the original version should have been released in 2009. The release had to be postponed when Adam Yauch (MCA) was diagnosed with larynx cancer. Fortunately, he survived the illness, but in the meantime the material for the album was mutating into the music we’re hearing on this record. It wouldn’t be a surprise to find the first one in stores in the near future; for now, we have this magnificent LP that clearly moves away from the most classicist and bilious lines of “To The 5 Boroughs”, strictly more hip-hop and more political. From that album, marked by the scars of 9/11, we go to an updated version of early nineties Beastie Boys. The Beastie Boys who are ready to party hard, without fear of picking up an instrument and having a good time, without the need for deep messages beyond the classic battle rhymes full of pop references. Yes, the echoes of “Check Your Head” are all over this work, but there are also reminiscences of “Ill Communication” and even “Hello Nasty”.
Basically, “Hot Sauce Committee Part Two” is an overview of the post- “Paul’s Boutique” Beastie Boys constants. There are NY punk sidesteps on the thunderous “Lee Majors Come Again”. Moments of psychedelica like “Nonstop Disco Powerpack”, with that trademark reverb on the vocals. They even try some reggae, guided by the voice of Santigold on “Don’t Play No Games That I Can’t Win”, a blockbuster that will cause hip injuries this summer.
But the most important thing is that the nerve is back, that electrical pinch they transmit when they balance funk, rare grooves, rock and hip-hop. When they pass the mic over devastating rhythms, that’s where steamrollers like “Here’s A Little Something For Ya”, “Crazy Ass Shit” and “Long Burn The Fire” and its otherworldly scratching come from. But if there is one highlight, it’s “Too Many Rappers”, with Nas himself and a raging detonation that sounds like the Bomb Squad on ephedrine. 40-year-old crisis? This is the best anti-depressant in history.