Beastie Boys – Ill Communication Album Anniversary

The Beastie Boys released their fourth studio album “Ill Communication” on May 31 1994.  It was produced by the Beastie Boys themselves and Mario C.  The album contains some of the most iconic Beastie Boys tracks in their library.

The album starts off with the aptly named “Sure Shot” that will have you hitting the repeat button over and over again.  They sample Jeremy Steig’s “Howlin For Jusy” and take a dope flute sample and make it funky enough!  Yes…a flute beat can be dope and funky!  When the lyrics come in you know they have grown up and changed their way of life.  Instead of themes consisting of partying, getting drunk and high, or getting a piece, they take the time to show people they are no longer those snotty-nosed-kids we remember with “Licensed To Ill”.

“I’ve got the brand new doo-doo, guaranteed like Yoo-Hoo
I’m on like Dr. John, yeah, Mr. Zu Zu
I’m a newlywed, I’m not a divorcee (yeah)
And everything I do is funky like Lee Dorsey”

Root Down” is pretty much a cover of Jimmy Smith’s track of the same name and by lifting a heavy bass guitar riff from the track they make it so old school Hip Hop funky.  Of course the rhymes are on point as well!  The video also has some dope old school footage of breakdancers doing their thing!

“On The Way Back Up Hearing Battle Tapes
Through The Underground, Underneath The Sky Scrapes yea
It’s Like Harlem World Battles On The Zulu Beat Show
It’s Kool Moe D Vs. Busy Bee There’s One You Should Know yeaaa
Enough Of That, I Just Want To Give Some Respect Due
MCA Grab The Mic And Ma Bell Will Connect You
Bob Marley Was A Prophet For The Freedom Fight
“If Dancin’ Prays To The Lord Then I Will Feel Alright”
I’m Feelin’ Good To Play A ..good Little Music music
Tears Running Down My Face ‘Cause I Love To Do It
And No One Can Stop This Flow From Flowing On
A Flow Master Of Disaster With A Sound That’s Gone yea
I’ll Take A Little Shout Out To My Dad And Mom yea
For Bringing Me Into This World And So On”

One of the greatest videos of all time (rap, rock, pop, whatever) has to be “Sabotage“.  Now it’s not a Hip Hop track per-se, but the track sticks to you like BBQ sauce on ribs.  It has the Beasties playing all live instruments on the track and it’s one of their greatest hits in their catalog.

“I can’t stand it, I know you planned it
But I’m gonna set it straight this Watergate
But I can’t stand rockin’ when I’m in this place
Because I feel disgrace because you’re all in my face
But make no mistakes and switch up my channel
I’m buddy rich when I fly off the handle
What could it be, it’s a mirage
You’re scheming on a thing – that’s sabotage”

As a Hip Hop Head myself, I love all of the Beastie Boys albums but some tracks stick out like a orange hat with a green bill.  This is the case with the track “Get It Together” where the boys get a little help from the great Q-Tip.  This track is bananas!!!  The rhymes from all four MC’s are on point and the beat is on another level.  They pass the mic Beastie style, 4 lines each and Q-Tip sounds like he’s been part of the group since day one!  This is pure Hip Hop and will have you saying “Hot Damn!” for sure.  The beat was lifted from a medley by The Moog Machine and it is perfect for this cut!

“(Q-Tip) Ad Rock down with the ione
Listen to the shit because both of them is boney
Got to do it like this like Chachi and Joanie
(Ad Rock) Because she’s the cheese and I’m the macaroni
So why all the fight and why all the fuss
Because… I ain’t got no dust
Yea, you know I’m getting silly
I’ve got a grandma Hazel and a grandma Tilly
(Mike D) Well I’m the Grand Royal Pres and I’m also a member
Born on the cusp in the month of November
I do the patty duke in case you don’t remember
Well, I freak a funky beat like the shit was in a blender
(MCA) Well, I’m long gone word is born
Don’t need a mother fucking fool telling me right from wrong
I don’t think I’m slick nor do I play like I’m hard
But I shall drive the lane like I was Evan Bernhard”

Alright Hear This” has the same vibe as “So WhatCha Want” where the group sounds like they are rhyming from a telephone like True Mathematics!  The track sounds old school with all those old school Hip Hop samples.  The bassline is delicious and it’s truly a Beastie Boys track in all it’s glory!

“I Ask God For A Rhyme Or Two
A Little Something For The Wise As Well As The Fool
A Little Something To Affect A Little Taste Of Change
For The Together And The Strong As Well As the Dearanged
I’ll Do You Right Like Bobby Knight
And Then I’m Rapping On The Mic To The Broadway Light
Stomp My Hands, I Clap My Feet And
I’m Bugging Off Yusef Lateef
I Got A Match To My Ass And I’m A Keep It Lit
I Need To Get Some Cash, Call My Accountant Britt
I’m Rushing Around Town Taking Care Of My Functions
Always Got One More Thing So Forget About Function
We Create This World And The Problems Go On
Create Our Lives And The Things That Go Wrong
So To The Deaf, The Blind, Look Around And Listen
To What It Is You Want And For What You’re Wishing”

The album is crazy dope and it’s in a lot of people’s Top 3 best Beastie Boys albums ever!  They experiment more with musical instruments and dabble in other genres, but to many they will always be considered a true Hip Hop Band!  We salute you Mike D, Ad Rock and MCA!

-Al E.





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