On this day, July 25, in hip-hop history…
1989: 1989 was a big year for hip-hop with the release of De La Soul’s 3 Feet High And Rising, Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back and the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique. Paul’s Boutique is an album that brought not only hip-hop, but music as a whole, to another level.
The Beastie Boys decided to venture out with their music after releasing their debut album, Licensed to Ill. This venture began with their label switch from Def Jam to Capital Records and their relocation from New York City to Los Angeles. Los Angeles is where they collaborated with a group of DJs called the Dust Brothers and created the idea for Paul’s Boutique.
What makes this album unparalleled is the creatively woven layers of sounds and samples. No other album has been able to carry so many sonic levels from different genres of music and still be considered hip-hop. In “The Sounds of Science,” they show that samples can not only be used as a part of production, but also as a way to complete rhymes. The last song on the album, “B-Boy Bouillabaisse,” is a twelve-minute song consisting of over one hundred samples. This song alone shows their versatility as they are able to switch from one sample to another while sticking true to their vibrant and witty flow.
The levels of sounds and samples made the album enigmatic and impenetrable at first, which contributed to its non-commercial success but years later this album was appreciated for its ability to show the art of sampling. In 2009, The Beastie Boys re-released and remastered Paul’s Boutique. With hundreds on Paul’s Boutique from Pink Floyd to reggae artist Pato Branton, the Beastie Boys were an early indication of the different sounds of hip hop.-Raven Irabor