The Beastie Boys Are My Favorite Hip-Hop Group of All Time!!!

Back when I was six years old, I was a B-boy… for a day. Actually, scratch that—for about 25 minutes. It was 1988, two years after the release of Licensed to Ill, the debut LP from rap/rock trio Beastie Boys (Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Adam “MCA” Yauch, and let’s not forget DJ Hurricane).

Don’t ask me why or how a six-year-old was listening, and loving, the Beasties—that’s a question better directed toward my parents.

Aside from cradling my Licensed to Ill cassette at all times, as if it was a sippy-cup, my fondest memory of those early Beastie-liking days derives from their hit single “Fight for Your Right,” the one with the video featuring the craziest house party my six-year-old eyes had ever seen (what can I say, the keggers on Sesame Street weren’t all that special). Much to my father’s chagrin, I recited the song’s chorus with the repetition of a dirty vinyl player, amidst the many replays of the video off the dubbed VHS copy my older brother recorded.

For whatever reason, my favorite Beastie Boy at the time was Mike D; my 25-minute-detour into the B-boy world came at his expense. Rather than dress as a werewolf (the obvious choice), I opted to spend Halloween of ’88 wearing a Mike-D-like black-top-hat-and-black-sunglasses outfit (as seen in the “Fight for Your Right” video), complete with a royal blue coat and black jeans. Well, it’s not accurate to say that I came up with the idea—blame that stroke of just-for-kicks genius on my older brother and one of my elder cousins. How do I recall this costume? My parents still have a picture of me in full Mike D get-up framed in their bedroom. If I’d been able to obtain it prior to writing this blog, I would’ve scanned the photo and posted it here (a little bit of masochism never hurt anybody, right?).

I bring this random childhood memory to your attention today to honor (in my own bizarre way) the Beastie Boys for making this year’s ballot of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees. Kudos to LL Cool J for also making the cut, but this is all about the Beasties.

I won’t bore your eyes off with further salutations, though; instead, I’m here to gather my personal favorite Beastie tracks from their incredible 24-year career. If you ask me, the Boys aren’t praised enough within the inner rap circles; sure, folks acknowledge their legacy, but how many times have you heard their name mentioned within “best rap group ever” discussions? Not saying they’d get my vote (Wu-Tang, mofo’s), but they’d certainly be in the top five, maybe even the top three.

Now, on to the jams. —Matt Barone

“Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” (Paul’s Boutique, 1989)

“Pass the Mic” (Check Your Head, 1992)

“So What’cha Want” (Check Your Head, 1992)

“Sure Shot” (Ill Communication, 1994)

“Root Down” (Ill Communication, 1994)

“Get It Together” feat. Q-Tip (Ill Communication, 1994)

“The Negotiation Limerick File” (Hello Nasty, 1998)

“Intergalactic” (Hello Nasty, 1998)

“Right Right Now Now” (To the 5 Boroughs, 2004)

  • uark83

    One of the greatest hip-hop groups of all time. “Check Your Head” is a musical masterpiece in my opinion…and not just for hip-hop but as in music as a whole. Not only did they have slick rhymes, but they played their own god damn instruments!

    • Anonymous

      I remembered when that “Pass the Mic” video came out… it got a sizable backlash from the hip-hop media as the Beasties’ attempt to go Rock with that skateboarding shit and all that. They were already successful on the first album and did very well for a group that wasn’t making any commercial reaches at first. But that video along with “So Whatcha Want” just felt like they were trying to get on the Lollapalooza circuit and appeal more to the rock fanbase. That album cover for Check Your Head even looked like more of a rock album. They still had some hard shit on the album tho, but a lot of it was written off all because of those two videos. Hip-Hop was extra gimmick-conscious at the time, so anything that even felt like a gimmick would get dudes dismissed. I don’t think the Beasties’ joint was nearly as bad as it was being made out to be, but the backlash kinda hurt their image amongst the core hip-hop fanbase- they were branded the “rock group”… and then eventually they DID become more of a rock-aimed group, and their music actually DID fall off.

    • shone jones

      I remembered when that “Pass the Mic” video came out… it got a sizable backlash from the hip-hop media as the Beasties’ attempt to go Rock with that skateboarding shit and all that. They were already successful on the first album and Paul’s Boutique did okay for a group that wasn’t making any commercial reaches at first. But that video along with “So Whatcha Want” just felt like they were trying to get on the Lollapalooza circuit and appeal more to the rock fanbase. That album cover for Check Your Head even looked like more of a rock album. They still had some hard shit on the album tho, but a lot of it was written off all because of those two videos. Hip-Hop was extra gimmick-conscious at the time, so anything that even felt like a gimmick would get dudes dismissed. I don’t think the Beasties’ joint was nearly as bad as it was being made out to be, but the backlash kinda hurt their image amongst the core hip-hop fanbase- they were branded the “rock group”… and then eventually they DID become more of a rock-aimed group, and their music actually DID fall off.

      • El Tico Loco

        The Beasties were a band first then they started rapping, and if not mistaken they were Madonna’s band to be exact but don’t quote me on that part; so when you saw them play instruments they were actually returning to their roots not the other way around. Kid Rock and Pink did that crap tho.

        • shone jones

          I almost forgot that they were a punk band.

          Thanks for clearing that up.

        • thoreauly77

          never madonnas band.

          they were a shitty punk band though. their first record they ever released was called the “pollywog stew ep”. it had songs like “egg raid on mojo” and some other silly shit. their next ep, “cookie puss” was their first foray into rap music, and british airways illegally sampled it. after winning a suit against b.a., the beasties got an apartment, fully turned into a hip-hop group, and eventually signed to rubin and rush.

          and the rest is rock and roll hall of fame history.

  • El Tico Loco

    If it was a choice to vote for the Licensensed to Ill album (at least Paul Revere), that would’ve been great. “Hey Ladies” and “Shake your rump” and “3 mcs 1 dj(mixx master mike)” were dope too. I hope LL and the Beasties both get inducted. I’m betting Ice T, BDP, or Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince got next in the RnRHOF.

  • The187Worm

    where the fuck is PAUL REVERE

  • Sha

    Man! The Beastie Boys were always ill to me. That Paul Revere shit was definitely next level. I always respected how they didn’t try to dick ride any artist and maintained that hip-hop swag.

    But I find it funny how times change….. I remember them pouring liquor on bitches and grabbin’ tits and asses at their concerts. And now I see them talking at awards shows about,

    “We need to respect our women and better protect our women at concerts.”

    That was some funny shit! Next thing you know Snoop will be on some JUST SAY NO shit.

  • BeerGangsta

    This is the only snow group i like. They was Produce by DJ Hurricane a Black Man. Good CD that was a Classic!! Neff said!!

    • Anonymous

      Wow, and they say only white people are racist. Skills are skills, regardless of color. “You just ignent.”

    • http://hotasballs.wordpress.com steezolini

      no.”they wasn’t produce” by dj hurricane.
      he was their d.j., after rick rubin, and the other dr dre.
      the has never been or will never be another beastie boys…
      pauls boutique is top five.
      in music, not just hip hop.
      they did drugs while you were at church.
      or to quote mca, “since you were sucking your mothers dick”
      ya dig?

  • Q461

    Beastie Boys are def one of the dopest groups ever! Real b-boys recognize these cats for their contributions.I remember them back when they were punk-rock, and then broke through with that fight for your right to party shit. All the songs you listed are crazy but I wanted to mention a few yall forgot:

    No Sleep til Brooklyn
    Paul Revere
    Hey Ladies
    Alive ( one of the dopest joints, download that shit if you never heard it)

    Also yall ever that shit they did with Nas called “Too Many Rappers”? Supposed to be the first single off their next record.

    Peace to the Beasties, true hip-hop pioneers no doubt.

  • http://www.twitter.com/thatkidtanyeezy ThatKidTanYeezy

    How Come You Ain’t Involve “An Open Letter to NYC”? Easily a heavy tune to eff with from Beastie Boys catalog.

  • adrian

    whens the new beasties album comin out??

  • V Youngin

    No Sleep til Brooklyn & Paul Revere are my Beastie records………..but yall dont have that up there……….SMH………..so ill go with “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” out of this bunch but that joint with Q-tip is crazy too!

  • Notorious AGC

    never liked them….

  • oskamadison

    …”Coolin’ on the corner on a hot summer’s day/It’s me and my posse and MCA/a lot of beer, a lot of girls and a lot of cursin’/.22 automatic on my person/got my hands in my pocket and my finger’s on the trigger/my posse’s gettin’ big and my posse’s gettin’ bigger/some voices got treble, some voices got bass/we got the kind of voices that are IN YOUR FACE!!!!!!!” WHAT!!!!!!

  • Drucifer

    Congrats to any group that can stay around that long, I’d be lying if I said I was a fan tho

  • t-mart

    uhhhhhh sabatoge anyone??? paul revere good tunes 3 mcs 1 dj. they hit with intergelic too later in their day

  • DETROIT

    beastie boys = BEST WHITE RAPPERS EVER!

    paul’s boutique was crazy!

  • mbone

    Yo MB, whats up w/ such little love for Paul’s Boutique in the list of best songs?? Dude, major glitch, you should check that album out!!! “Hey Ladies” “Shake Your Rump” and “Egg Man”

  • W. J. Rice

    Ya besides Pass the Mic and Sabotage I think their shit is worse than shit. It’s almost a mockery of hip hop.

    • Anonymous

      STF UP, THEY ARE THE ESSEENCE OF HIP HOP THEY WHERE AROUND DURING THE INCEPTION OF HIP HOP, AND LIKE COCKROACHES AFTER A NUCLEAR FALL OUT THEY ARE STILL AROUND, THEY ARE LEGENDS GIVE EM RESPECT. YOU DONT HAVE TO LIKE EM BUT THEY PAID THEIR DUES.WHAT IS A MOCKERY OF HIP HOP IS MOST OF THE GARBAGE COMIN OUT THESE DAYS…..I MISS THE GOLDEN ERA OF HIP HOP ALL THE WAY UP HIP HOP DIED ABOUT FIVE YEARS AGO. GIVE OR TAKE A GOOD ALBUM HERE AND THERE.QUALITY MUSIC IS SCARCE NOW.

      I BET WHEN THEY DROP THEIR NEW ALBUM IT WILL STILL BE ON POINT BECAUSE FACE IT THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TRUE TO THEIR SELVES.AND THATS WHAT PEOPLE LOVE ABOUT THEM.

  • kedordu

    NO SABOTAGE ??? HMM