kottke.org posts about Beastie Boys

Muppets version of So What'cha Want by the Beastie BoysAug 22 2014

As far as these things go, this video of the Muppets singing So What'cha Want by the Beastie Boys is pretty near perfect.

See also The Muppets singing Kanye West's Monster and the Sesame Street gang doing the Beastie Boys' Sure Shot. Oh, and the classic Bert & Ernie Ante Up rap video:

(via subtraction)

Paul's Boutique Minus Paul's BoutiqueJul 29 2014

Hi, everybody! Tim Carmody here, guest-hosting for Jason this week.

July 25 was probably the 25th anniversary of Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique. (Google and a few other sources say the release date was actually June 25, but July 25 is the consensus.) There's a new mural of the group, painted by Danielle Mastrion, at the corner of Ludlow and Rivington, on New York's Lower East Side, where the album cover was shot.

This remix of Paul's Boutique, released a few years ago, has also been recirculating on Twitter and Soundcloud. Caught in the Middle of a Three-Way Mix, by DJ Cheeba, DJ Moneyshot, and DJ Food, recombines the album's original source tracks and a capella verses with audio commentaries and a handful of newer songs.

The remix is fun to listen to, but mostly, it just reminds you that Paul's Boutique sounds amazing because its sampled sources were amazing. Like De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising, released the same year, Paul's Boutique lifts tracks that would cost a small mint to borrow from today. (Three Feet High has never had an official digital release because the rights holders still can't sort out the royalties.) The Beatles, The Supremes, The Ramones, Curtis Mayfield, Dylan, Hendrix, Sly, Bernard Hermann, and James Brown (of course) are all there. But mostly, it's a love letter to old-school New York City hip hop: Kurtis Blow, Afrika Bambaataa and the Jazzy 5, The Sugarhill Gang, The Funky 4 +1, and contemporaries like Run-DMC, Boogie Down Productions, and Public Enemy are the glue that holds the whole project together.

Now, if you know Paul's Boutique well, you can't hear those older songs any more without hearing Paul's Boutique. There's specific moments in those songs that hide there waiting for you to trip over them, like quotations of ancient Greek in an Ezra Pound or TS Eliot poem. Beastie Boys didn't just find a way to make older music sound new; they found a way to invent their own precursors.

It's still wonderful to go back to the roots. In 2012, I found tracks from a handful of playlists and website listings and edited them together to make a Spotify playlist that I called "Paul's Boutique Without Paul's Boutique." (Later, I updated it using Benjamin Wintle's comprehensive playlist, which is really the base here -- he did an amazing job tracking down these songs.) It's just the sampled songs, roughly in the order they appear on the album. It's ridiculously fun. I like it better than the three-DJ mix, and I might like it even better than the Beasties' album.

It feels like you're at an amazing party at Adam Yauch's house, the Dust Brothers have control of the record player, and Mike D and Adam Horowitz are watching TV and telling you jokes the whole time. I never want it to end.

Update: Scott Orchard made a version of this playlist on Rdio, for the Rdio fans in the house.

The BeastlesJun 14 2013

DJ BC took the Beastie Boys and mashed them up with The Beatles.

He did more than 40 songs...get them all here. (via ★glass)

Sabotage! You know, for kidsMay 15 2012

As a tribute to Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, James Winters and his family made this parody of the video Sabotage with kids playing all the roles.

Charming, although I might have gone with squirt guns instead of the more realistic item.

(via @moth)

Paul's Boutique would be impossible todayMay 08 2012

Matt Yglesias argues that because of the way copyright is viewed by the public and interpreted by lawmakers and the courts, making an album like The Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique would be nearly impossible today.

The death on Friday of Adam Yauch, best known as the Beastie Boys' MCA, surely sent many of us back to old albums we may not have heard for a while. And anyone who threw on Paul's Boutique, the Boys' best album, was surely struck by the sense that they don't make records like that anymore. That's not just because tastes and styles have changed. The entire album is based on lavish sampling of other recordings. "Shake Your Rump," which leads Slate's #MCATracks playlist, features samples of 14 songs by 12 separate artists. In all, the album is thought to have as many as 300 total samples. The sampling gave Paul's Boutique a sound that remains almost as distinctive today as it was when it was released in 1989.

Perhaps the main reason-and certainly the saddest reason-that it still sounds distinctive is that a rapidly shifting legal and economic landscape made it essentially impossible to repeat.

MCAMay 05 2012

I was away from the computer for most of yesterday, which is a good thing, because I don't think I would have been able to handle people on Twitter even lightheartedly joking about MCA passing away yesterday. I don't know if that happened, and I doubt I'll go look for it. (PS, this is Aaron writing.)

My connection to the Beastie Boys hasn't been as strong in the last...ten years or so, but before that, I cared about them as much as any band I've loved, I'm talking top 5 ever. My fandom path was out of order: Licensed to Ill to Check Your Head to Paul's Boutique, because PB was over my head when it came out. I remember 7 of us leaving high school early, squeezing into one of those boxy Volvo sedans, to go to Newbury Comics to buy Ill Communication. The 7 of us each buying our own CD. I remember being in charge of getting tickets for friends to the Beastie Boys/Roots show in Worcester in 10th Grade, not getting a ticket for Ally, and Ally not speaking to me for 2 full years. I remember sitting up in the stands for that show until pretty much everyone jumped down onto the floor past the helpless guards. I remember being super angry at a friend whose puppy bit a hole in my Check Yo Head shirt in 8th grade, thinking I wouldn't be able to wear it anymore. I remember this shirt being my first tshirt ever to fall apart, to literally wear out, from being worn too much 15 years later.

The thing that always fascinated me about the Beastie Boys was their transformation from punk rockers to party rappers to the less easily described, but amazing, place where they ended up.

Here are some other remembrances from around the web:

-A very good Sasha Frere-Jones in the New Yorker:

And this is the Yauch people remember: a man who could say he was sorry and not feel lessened by it; a man living within the principles of Buddhism and committed to broadening awareness of the political situation in Tibet; and a genuinely quiet person who had become more likely to make a joke at his own expense than anyone else's. Yauch's is one of the voices that can signify hip-hop within three syllables--rough, low, and strained. He got a lot done with that voice.>

-Amos Barshad in Grantland:

Yauch was the leader. A small part of that was aesthetics; the premature graying hair, the permanent rasp. But it was also evident that the morality tale of the Beastie Boys -- three genius New York City smartasses who grew out of Budweiser-crushing caricatures into three endlessly curious, wholeheartedly decent adults -- was best represented by Yauch.

-The obituary on BeastieBoys.com does a good job rounding up the Beasties myriad credits:

With fellow members Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Adrock" Horovitz, Beastie Boys would go on to sell over 40 million records, release four #1 albums-including the first hip hop album ever to top the Billboard 200, the band's 1986 debut full length, Licensed To Ill-win three Grammys, and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. Last month Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Diamond and Horovitz reading an acceptance speech on behalf of Yauch, who was unable to attend.

-Molly Ringwald: "Being on tour with the Beastie Boys & Run DMC in the 80s. Guys were all stand-up gentlemen, tho I'm sure they feared I was the band's Yoko."

-MCA in a 2008 interview about his film company, Oscilloscope Pictures: "Yeah, I could see doing this for a long time."

-All of Twitter's trending topics were Beastie Boys related for a time yesterday.

-From a good round up of musicians responding to the news, Chuck D:

Last night, I took a 14 hour flight to Sydney, Australia from LA, embarking on PE's 80th tour in 25 years. I just landed to 65 texts with the news. Adam and the Boys put us on out first tour 25 years and 79 tours ago. They were essential to our beginning, middle and today. Adam especially was unbelievable in our support from then 'til now, even allowing me to induct them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I consider myself a strong man and my father says be prepared to lose many in your post-50 path of life. Still, I'm a bit teary-eyed leaving this plane.

-Plus Andrew WK, "MCA PARTY HARD FOREVER." and Ghostface Killah, "My condolences to Adam "MCA" Yauch Family & the Beastie Boys. My brothers & I felt that pain before as well. Sad Day."

-170 Beastie Boys references explained.

-A memory from David Jacobs:

I drove a lot of famous musicians and speakers to & from the Cleveland airport over my college career, but I literally lost my head driving Adam Yauch down 480 back to Oberlin. The rented minivan we were driving was swerving in traffic so much that Adam reached from the back seat and put his hands on my shoulders: "It's OK! Drive man, drive!"

-Anil Dash, "One of the most profound things the Beasties and MCA did was show us how people can evolve, from silly boys to serious artists."

-Questlove:

The Beastie Boys were kind enough to spread the love to us on their second go round in 95. (86?s license to ill was brilliant albeit perceived novelty masterpiece, their followups 89?s paul's boutique & 91?s check your head were necessary sacrifice/build destroy exercises that RARELY work in entertainment (they traded in quick fast teen bop stardom in for rebuilding a credible fan base that would prove loyal til the very end). so once again they defied the odds in 94 with ill communication and wound up back where they started from: Stadiums.

This could go on and on, but this is what I read this morning, via most of the folks I follow on Stellar.

Beastie Boys vs. Sesame StreetJul 21 2011

Sesame Street characters, including Grover on the flute, perform the Beastie Boys' Sure Shot.

(via devour)

The Beastie Boys, AnnotatedMay 02 2011

The Onion A/V Club has put together a short, alphabetical guide to obscure, semi-obscure, and I-forget-that-other-people-might-find-that-obscure references/allusions in the music of The Beastie Boys.

It's called "'Electric Like Dick Hyman': 170 Beastie Boys references explained." Here's a representative entry:

Drakoulias, George ("Stop That Train" from "B-Boy Bouillabaisse," Paul's Boutique)
Def Jam A&R man George Drakoulias helped discover the Beastie Boys for Rick Rubin, and later became a producer for Rubin's American Recordings, working on albums by The Black Crowes, The Jayhawks, and Tom Petty. There's no record of him ever working at an Orange Julius.

I obsessed over this stuff as a kid, especially with Paul's Boutique: I was nine years old, living in Detroit's 8 Mile-esque suburbs, not New York, hadn't seen any cult movies from the 70s not titled Star Wars, and had no internet to consult. I was literally pulling down encyclopedias from the shelf and asking my parents (who generally likewise had no clue) obnoxious questions to try to figure out what the heck they were talking about.

In a post I wrote here last summer, I said that hip-hop's culture of musical sampling and what Ta-Nehisi Coates called "digging in the crates" for old records helped ensure that a significant chunk of my generation would be into history.

But it was definitely the references, too. Whether silly or serious, you couldn't listen to The Beastie Boys or Public Enemy or Boogie Down Productions and not try to sort through these casually dropped names, memes, and places and try to reconstruct the worlds where they came from.

An oral history of the Beastie BoysApr 25 2011

On the eve of the release of the Beastie Boys' latest album, New York Magazine has an interesting history of the band as told through interviews of the band and others who were there.

They accidentally knew what they were doing.

Following a leak of the new album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, the band is now streaming the full album on their web site. (via stellar)

Tags related to Beastie Boys:
music video remix Adam Yauch

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