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Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

Beastie BoysHot Sauce Committee Part Two

They weren’t supposed to have it anymore. After 2004’s good-but-not-great To the 5 Boroughs and 2007’s instrumental oddity The Mix-Up, the indication was clear: The Beastie Boys, while still decent, would never be the hip-hop juggernaut they once were. Oh, how wrong that notion was. Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is easily the best album the Beasties have made since 1998’s Hello Nasty, and definitely qualifies as a career highlight. If the title is a bit confusing (what happened to Part One?) that can be easily explained. Part One was originally scheduled to come out in 2009, but was delayed several times, mostly due to Adam “MCA” Yauch’s battle with cancer–which as of January he was still fighting. As a way of mocking the delays, the band simply decided it would be funnier to release Part Two first–a sign of their cheeky humor which can be heard quite a bit on this album.

The proceedings begin with “Make Some Noise,” which is old school hip-hop at its finest. As soon as the track begins, listeners are brought right back to 1994. It’s like the last decade never happened, and the Beasties prime never ended.

These vibes continue throughout the album, as the Beasties largely ignore current hip-hop trends and simply make the music they want to make. The humor and styles are readily apparent just by looking at the song titles–would anyone else think of giving songs titles like “Nonstop Disco Powerpack,” “Lee Majors Come Again,” and “Tadlock’s Glasses”?

While the old-school feel is central to this album’s success, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is far from a simple retread of past glories. Fellow Brooklynite Santigold assists the Beasties on “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win,” and many of the tracks feature decidedly modern beats. It’s not that the Beastie Boys are afraid to move the future; they just wish to do it on their own terms.

Clever and obscure references have long been a staple of the Beasties’ lyrics, and Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is no exception. On this album, they plan to “take down MCs by lethal rap injection,” and make reference to everything from Apple Bottom Jeans to very-old-school rapper Grandmaster Cad, who dropped an uncredited verse on “Rapper’s Delight.” No reference is too common or too obscure for the Beasties.

Hip-hop is not a field known for longevity of its performers. The only 1980s groups whose legacies can compare to the Beastie Boys are Public Enemy and Run-DMC, both of whom have made extensive appearances in the field of reality TV (Flavor Flav’s work stands out as the most depressing.) Hip-hop is a young man’s game, so the Beastie Boys remaining relevant well into their 40s is nothing short of astonishing.

Earlier this year, they fell just short of being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but after hearing this album, it’s hard imagine them not making it in very soon. The Beastie Boys are not only one of the greatest hip-hop groups of all-time, but one of the greatest artists ever in any genre. All this album does is confirm that.

—john hugar


  • Machiventa

    Nice review but Grandmaster Cad?