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Positive Feedback ISSUE 55
may/june 2011


The Beastie Boy's Hot Sauce Committee Part II
by Nicholas Taylor


beastie album

The Beastie Boy's Hot Sauce Committee Part II is the eighth album from one of Hip Hop's primordial acts. This album finds the Beastie Boys (now all middle aged) wiser with renewed enthusiasm after a few less than stellar albums. Hello Nasty (1998) was the first album to include DJ Mix Master Mike from the innovative Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and he returns for his third collaboration and his best work to date. HSCPII is mostly a return to form, true to their playful material from the late eighties and early to mid nineties, eliciting the same lyrical hubris and irreverent zeitgeist that influenced and defined a generation of b-boys and girls. In fact, the Beastie Boys influences are still making a mark today. Apart from pioneering a punk rock and hip hop fusion musically, they triggered a vintage clothing trend as a counter point to the flannel grunge scene of the time. It's hard to imagine the popularity of throwback uniforms of the NBA, MLB and NFL without the Beastie Boys first donning this trend in the early 90's. It's also an influence that featured groundbreaking music videos and launched the careers of several filmmakers including the audacious visionary Spike Jones.

Hot Sauce Committee Part II begins with the funky jam "Make Some Noise." Ad-Rock kicks off the album with "Yes here we go again give you more nothing lesser back on the mic it's the anti depressor." Thank goodness. It's been awhile since the Brooklyn trio was having fun. To the Five Boroughs (2004) marked the first time they produced an album by themselves and the last time they rapped on an album (The Mix Up released in 2007 was an all-instrumental album). Unlike previous releases, To the Five Boroughs was more outwardly political and spoke out against the war in Iraq and the terrorist attacks on 9-11. The album was an ambitious effort from a group that years ago rapped about having coitus with the Sheriff's daughter and a wiffle ball bat, but ultimately a misstep. How they've grown. The Beastie Boys seem to agree those previous independent outings weren't very good by rapping later from the same track "Our resurrection by popular election get paid every year like tax collection."

Sonically, HSCPII favors a more traditional hip hop sound by maintaining strong beats throughout each song. This is a stark difference from Beastie Boys albums like the archetypal Paul's Boutique (1988), which broke away from the usual hip hop tropes and infused heavy doses of samples for each song. A group signed to a major record label could get away with that years ago, and it was a great sound, but samples cost money today. Independent groups can't use sampling without the heavy fees to pay for copyrights or for the legal ramifications if they don't. The liner notes of this album acknowledges and lists samples used for each song. The lawyers won.

Is HSCPII the Beastie Boys's best work? No, but a new release from Brooklyn's Beastie Boys is a lot like an old friend visiting from out of town. With antiquated eyes you look past those few extra pounds or grey hairs and see the same buddy smiling away as if not a day had passed and you smile back because itís good to see them.

It's good to see you again Beastie Boys.