White Men Can Rap

Beastie Boys - Hello Nasty
(Grand Royal Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)

Story by Tony Bonyata

Take the best of hip-hop and rap, mix it with the some of the most innovative rock music this side of Beck, throw in a good measure of sophomoric humor and add a twist of snotty street smarts and what you've got is the Beastie Boys.
Formed in Brooklyn, NY as a punk band in 1981 the Beastie Boys, featuring Mike D (Mike Diamond), MCA (Adam Yauch) and King Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz), soon became intrigued by the black New York street sounds of rap and metamorphosised it into their own braying, bratty Brooklynite-styled music. In 1986 they released their surprise smash debut album "Licensed To Ill" which became the first number one selling rap album
Four albums and 12 years later the B-Boys have shown that although they've matured musically on their latest album Hello Nasty, they're still as lyrically irresponsible as ever, which consequently really doesn't matter, because it's always been about the groove these guys lay down. Just try and sit still through the opening number "Super Disco Breakin'", a song which could cause embarrassment in crowded traffic.
Old school hip-hop runs rampant through the bone-contorting numbers "Body Movin'", "The Negotiation Limerick File" and "The Grasshopper Unit (Keep Movin')", while the boys mix it up on "Song For The Man" which is reminiscent of a cheesy soundtrack from one of those bad B-movies from the early seventies. The laid back attitude on "Flowin' Prose" as well as the infectious Kraftwerk-like robotic vocals on the chest-thumping "Intergalactic" and Latino flair on "Song For Junior", an instrumental complete with flute, vibraphone and a rhythm straight out of Carlos Santana's "Oye Como Va", add to the Beastie's well textured musical landscape.
Turning their back on punk rock, the medium which not only brought them together but also found them pushing some boundaries on their 1992 album "Check Your Head" as well as their last release "Ill Communication", the boys have instead stuck to what they know best, and that's laying down an unbelievable black sounding hip-hop groove with the exuberance of white snot-nosed punks.
White men may not be able to jump, but the Beastie Boys prove that they sure can rap.

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