The Beastie Boys – Hello Nasty: Deluxe Edition (Capitol Records)


Whereas the previous two Beastie Boy albums (Ill Communication and Check Your Head) found them straddling the line between hip-hop and alternative rock, on Hello Nasty they move more towards the hip-hop side of things – or at least towards their own unique take on the genre. This meant saying goodbye to many of the live instruments (which is probably for the best since they’re better rappers than musicians) and long-time member DJ Hurricane, who was replaced by Mixmaster Mike. The result was a concoction of drum machines, early electronica, and the trio’s playful rhyming, which is sharper than  ever before, or has been in the years since. Track after track, the lyrics and music work in unison with “Three MC’s And On DJ”, “Just A Test” and mega-hit “Intergalactic” among the most explosive songs. Although the boys didn’t put any funk instrumentals on Hello Nasty, there are a few genre workouts in the 22 track sprawl: “Song For The Man” is electronica-meets-lounge kitsch, “And Me” indulges in drum’n’bass, and “Song For Junior” is Santana-esque Latin-rock with Miho Hatori from Cibo Matto doing vocals. The Boys even meet up with one of their idols, Lee Perry, for the dub track “Dr. Lee PhD” although the results are actually kind of forgettable.

The new edition of the album features remastered sound, and a second disc of bonus songs. The bonus material is mostly of throwaway jams and song fragments. The only keepers are the remixes of album cuts, including Fatboy Slim’s take on “Body Movin”.

 

Tracklisting:

Disc: 1

1. Super Disco Breakin’ 2. The Move 3. Remote Control 4. Song for the Man 5. Just a Test 6. Body Movin’ 7. Intergalactic 8. Sneakin’ Out the Hospital 9. Putting Shame in Your Game 10. Flowin’ Prose 11. And Me 12. Thee MC’s and One DJ 13. The Grasshopper Unit (Keep Movin’) 14. Song for Junior 15. I Don’t Know 16. The Negotiation Limerick File 17. Electrify 18. Picture This 19. Unite 20. Dedication 21. Dr. Lee, PhD 22. Instant Death

Disc: 2

1. Description Of A Strange Man 2. Dirt Dog previously unreleased track 3. Intergalactic (Colleone & Webb Remix) 4. Dr. Lee, PhD (Dub Mix) 5. Switched On (previously unreleased track) 6. Body Movin’ (Fatboy Slim Remix) 7. Auntie Jackie Poom Poom Delicious (previously unreleased track) 8. Putting Shame In Your Game (Prunes Remix) 9. Stink Bug (previously unreleased track) 10. Peanut Butter & Jelly 11. Piano Jam (previously unreleased track) 12. Happy To Be In That Perfect Headspace 13. The Negotiation Limerick File (41 Small Star Remix) 14. The Drone (previously unreleased track) 15. 20 Questions Version 16. The Biz Grasshopper Experiment 17. Hail Sagan (Special K) 18. Body Movin’ (Kut Masta Kurt Remix) 19. Creepin’ (previously unreleased track) 20. Learning Remote Control 21. Oh My Goodness This Record’s Incredible


The Beastie Boys – Ill Communication: Deluxe Edition (Capitol Records)


If you went to high school or college in the second half of the 1990s you may remember Ill Communication as the soundtrack to a good portion of the parties you went to. Fifteen years on it stands as perhaps the best release of The Beastie Boys’ lengthy career, neatly distilling their seemingly disparate interests (hip hop, funk, hardcore punk, ’70s underground culture, and even Adam Yauch’s Buddhism) and fine-tuning the mix of live instruments and samples they began exploring on Check Your Head into something more cohesive. The rapping and beats on tracks like “Sure Shot” , “B-Boys Making With The Freak Freak”, “Root Down” and “Get It Together” (featuring a classic guest-spot from Q-Tip) are more confident, the instrumental tracks (“Bobo On The Corner”, “Sabrosa, “Futterman’s Rule”) are more funk than filler, and the hardcore tracks (“Tough Guy” and “Heart Attack Man”) are as good as anything from the early-’80s. As for the most well-known song, “Sabotage” – it may have been killed by overexposure on MTV and Modern Rock Radio but listening to it now removed from any kind of pop-culture context, it’s a pretty strange song to have been such a big hit. Was it rap? Metal? Punk? More likely it was both all, and none, of the above. It’s exactly that kind of forward-thinking genre-blending that made Ill Communication a huge hit with both critics and fans.

This new reissue (the third in the Beastie’s reissue campaign behind Paul’s Boutique and Check Your Head) features remastered sound and a second disc of extra material. That disc is a mess of live songs, inessential remixes of “Sure Shot”, “Get It Together”, and “Root Down”, stoned joking around (an unplugged version of “Heart Attack Man” and “Atwater Basketball Association File No. 172-C” – the latter of which is just a recording of people playing basketball) and four songs (“Resolution Time”, “Dope Little Song”, “The Vibes” and “Mullet Head”) which were good enough to have been part of the album-proper.


The Beastie Boys – Check Your Head: Deluxe Edition (Capitol Records)


The Beastie Boys reissue campaign continues with 1992’s Check Your Head; wherein the New York trio began incorporating live instrumentation into their hip-hop stew. Sure, it had the beats, smart-assed rhymes and cultural in-jokes that Mike D, MCA and Ad Rock have made a career and a sizable fortune on, but there’s so much variety here that it sounds like a musical tour of New York City. There’s a sonic potpourri of hip-hop, funk, Latin, hardcore punk, classic rock, soul and psychedelia spread liberally throughout, with seemingly divergent styles often crossing paths within a single song. Clearly people like Beck and DJ Shadow were taking notes on classic Beastie songs like “Pass The Mic”, “So What’cha Want” and “Professor Booty”. Although the album is rightfully praised for its genre-blending and bold experimentation, the freewheeling attitude wears thin over twenty tracks, with a few too many half-hearted funk instrumentals and humorous interludes weighing it down. Had more judicious editing slimmed Check Your Head down to its best 12-15 tracks, it would have been flawless. There’s still a great album in there, it just might take a little skipping around to find it. Given the amount of filler found on the album proper, the Bonus Disc on this newly remastered edition is predictably dicey. There’s a remix of “So What’cha Want” by DJ Muggs which boasts a funkier beat and a sharp verse by B-Real, and there’s an excellent b-side called “The Skills To Pay The Bills”. Beyond those two songs lies a vast wasteland of lesser remixes, demos, concert tracks and b-sides which don’t do anything to enhance the Check Your Head experience, and probably won’t be listened to more than once.

Tracklisting:

Disc one:

“Jimmy James”

“Funky Boss”

“Pass The Mic”

“Gratitude”

“Lighten Up”

“Finger Lickin’ Good”

“So What’cha Want”

“The Biz Vs. The Nuge”

“Time For Livin'”

“Something’s Got To Give”

“The Blue Nun”

“Stand Together”

“Pow”

“The Maestro”

“Groove Holmes”

“Live At PJ’s”

“Mark On The Bus”

“Professor Booty”

“In 3’s”

Disc two:

“Dub The Mic” (Instrumental)

“Pass The Mic Pt. 2″

“Drunk Praying Mantis Style”

“Netty’s Girl”

“The Skills To Pay The Bills” (Original)

“So What’cha Want” (Soul Assasins Remix)

“So What’cha Want” (Butt Naked Version)

“Groove Holmes” (Live Vs. The Biz)

“So What’cha Want” (All The Way Live Freestyle)

“Stand Together” (Live at French’s Tavern)

“Finger Lickin’ Good” (Government Cheese)

“Gratitude” (Live at Budokan 9/17/92)

“Honky Rink”

“Jimmy James” (Original Original Version)

“Boomin’ Granny”

“Drinkin’ Wine”