Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill

beastie-boys-licensed-to-ill-back-n-the-day-buffetThe Beastie Boys released their debut album “Licensed to Ill” on November 15, 1986.  The album dropped on Def Jam Records and produced by Rick Rubin.

When I went to the record store to pick up this album, I remember being 15 and wanting to hear Hip Hop all day every single day!  I would listen to Run DMC, LL Cool J, and Kurtis Blow and anything new especially anything with the Def Jam logo on it!  So when the Beasties dropped their debut album, I knew I was going to be playing this album for years to come.  Till this day, I love every single track off this album and know every word to every song on this album!  So why I’m going to try to do is give you my Top 5 Beastie Boys tracks off this certified classic LP!   These are the song I played over and over again, and to this day cherish them like they are brand new.

6. BRASS MONKEY

Ok, so I can’t do 5!  It’s hard to do 6!  Let’s continue though.  First and foremost, when this track was played at a party, the house went ape shit!  The track samples a dope saxophone sample of “Bring It Here” by Wild Sugar and the lyrics come easy for the Beasties since it’s about getting drunk off some orange based adult beverage!

Step up to the bar, put the girl down
She takes a big gulp and slaps it around
You take a sip, you can do it, you get right to it
We had a case in the place and we went right through it
You got a dry Martini, you thinking you’re cool
I’ll take your place at the bar, I smack you off your stool
I’ll down a ’40 dog in a single gulp
And if you got beef, you’ll get beat to a pulp
Monkey and parties and reelin’ and rockin’
Def-def girls-girls, all y’all jockin’
The song and dance keeping you in a trance
If you don’t buy my record, I got my advance
I drink it, I think it, I see it, I be it
I love Brass Monkey but I won’t give D it
We got the bottle, you got the cup
Come on everybody let’s get ffffff

5. SLOW AND LOW

I knew I guy that would have house speakers plugged into his car stereo and layed them on the bed of his truck and blasted that song from one corner to the next!  The bass was kickin’, the guitar sample was perfectly placed,  and the slow flow had me mesmerized.  Oh, and by the way, it was written by Run DMC.

It’s never old school – all brand new
So everybody catch – the bugaloo flu
Not like a fever – not like a cold
The beats are clear – the rhymes are bold
So don’t see a doctor or see a nurse
Just listen to the music – first things first
First of all – get off the wall
It’s time to party so have a ball
We slowed it on down – so get the hell up
Like a volcano, I’ll erupt
We got determination – bass and highs
White Castle fries only come in one size
What you see is what you get
And you ain’t seen – nothing yet

4. HOLD IT NOW, HIT IT

Yo Leroy!”  The first Beastie Boys track I had ever heard was “Hold It Now, Hit It“, and I could not believe what they were saying!  They were talking about sex, drugs, booze and sniffing glue!  The track samples a bunch of tracks including “The Return of Leroy Part 1” by the Jimmy Castor Bunch and a whistle sample from Trouble Funk’sDrop The Bomb” that they would reuse again on this album!

Now I chill real ill when I start to chill
When I fill my pockets with a knot of dollar bills
Sipping pints of ale out the window sill
When I get my fill I’m chilly-chill
Now, I just got home because I’m out on bail
What’s the time, it’s time to buy ale
Peter eater, parking meter, all of the time
If I run out of ale, it’s Thunderbird wine
Miller drinking, chicken eating, dress so fly
I got friends in high places that are keeping me high
Get down with Mike D and it ain’t no hassle
I got the ladies of the eighties from here to White Castle

3. THE NEW STYLE

One of the greatest Beastie tracks is “The New Style” where they rap over a stripped down drum beat and a whistle sample from Trouble Funk’sDrop The Bomb” (yes again).

You wanna know why – because I’m…
October 31st – that is my date of birth
I got to the party, you know what I did? the Smurf
Taxing all females from coast to coast
And when I get my fill, I’m chilly most
We ragtag girlies back at the hotel
And then we all switch places when I ring the bell
I chill at White Castle cause it’s the best
But I’m fly at Fatburger when (when he’s) I’m way out west
K-I-N-G-A-D whammy
All the fly ladies, they’re on my jammy
Went to the prom – wore the fly blue rental
Got six girlies in my Lincoln Continental
I met a girl at the party and she started to flirt
I told her some rhymes and she pulled up her skirt (check it)
Spent some bank – I got a high powered jumbo
Rolled up a wooly (what did he do?) and I watched Columbo

The track doesn’t end there!  The second part of the track starts when Adrock drops the bass on us!  If you had some dope speakers, you knew you had to blast the volume past 10 to feel the breeze from the back of the amp!

Let me clear my throat
Kick it over here baby pop
And let all the fly skimmies feel the beat
Mmm… drop

Coolin’ on the corner on a hot summer day
Just me, my posse and MCA
A lot of beer – a lot of girls – and a lot of cursing
Twenty-two automatic on my person
Got my hand 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
Like the bun to the burger – like the burger to the bun
Like the cherry to the apple – to the peach to the plum
I’m the king of the Ave. – and I’m the king of the block
Well, I’m MCA – and I’m the King Adrock
Well, I’m Mike D – I got all the fly juice
On the checkin’ at the party on the Forty Deuce
Walking down the block with the fresh fly threads
Beastie Boys fly the biggest heads

 

 

2.  TIME TO GET ILL

If you are a fan of sampling, this track is for you!  This track samples some of the greatest artists in R&B, Hip Hop and Classic Rock!  When you can sample Led Zeppelin and Creedence Clearwater Revival at the same time use a Barry White and Kool & The Gang sample and sound this funky, you know this track has to be at the top of your list!   The track has about 14 samples and once we get to “Paul’s Boutique” we can clearly see where they learned to put together a track with multiple samples!  Every time I listen to this song, it reminds me of the live performance they gave on the Joan Rivers Show.  These guys were one of a kind!

Riding down the block with my box in my hand
Today I feel like chillin’ just as chill as I can
Coolin’ on the corner with a forty of O.E.
‘Cause me and M.C.A. we’re down with Mike D.
When I run a jam I don’t give a damn
When I’m throwing bass I say, “Thank you ma’am.”
Fuel injected, rhyme connected running things
I’m the King Adrock and I’m the king of all kings
I’m looking for a spot things are gettin’ hot
I’m M.C.A., I’m here to stay and you sir, are not
Oh no, it could not be it’s such a sight to see
It’s such a trip you’re on my tip so listen to Mike D.
My work is my play cause I’m playing when I work
My name’s Mike D., as you can see and I can dot the jerk
M.C.A., Adrock, Mike D. – it’s chill
What’s the time? it’s time to get ill

1. PAUL REVERE

My favorite Beastie joint is undoubtedly “Paul Revere” not just because it’s a storytelling jam, but because it has one of the greatest beats of all time.  The track has a drum beat that is played backwards while a sample of T La Rock’sIt’s Yours” is placed on top of the beat.  I had always thought that the beat that was playing backwards was also “It’s Yours”, but it was not.  It was made on a Roland TR-808 kick drum by Rick Rubin and Rev Run played it backwards by accident, and since it sounded so dope, they kept it that way.  If you listen to it backwards, it’s sounds pretty dope being played the correct way!

As for the story, the song tells the story of how the Beasties met and in reality it sounds like it’s a tale from the wild wild west days.  The beat and rhymes go perfect together and is one of the greatest tales in Hip Hop history.  Everybody knows this song!

[Ad-Rock]
Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell
About three bad brothers you know so well
It started way back in history
With Ad-Rock, M.C.A. (and me) Mike D

[Ad-Rock]
Been had a little horsey named Paul Revere
Just me and my horsey and a quart of beer
Riding across the land, kicking up sand
Sheriff’s posse on my tail cause I’m in demand
One lonely Beastie I be
All by myself without nobody
The sun is beating down on my baseball hat
The air is getting hot, the beer is getting flat
Lookin for a girl, I ran into a guy
His name was MCA, I said, “howdy”, he said, “hi”

[Ad-Rock]
He told a little story that sounded well rehearsed
Four days on the run and that he’s dying of thirst
The brew was in my hand and he was on my tip
His voice was hoarse, his throat was dry, he asked me for a sip
He said, “Can I get some?”, I said, “You can’t get none!”
Had a chance to run and pulled out his shotgun
Quick on the draw, I thought I’d be dead
He put the gun to my head and this is what he said

[MCA]
Now my name is MCA I’ve got a license to kill
I think you know what time it is it’s time to get ill
Now what do we have here, an outlaw and his beer
I run this land, you understand, I made myself clear

[Ad-Rock]
We stepped into the wind, he had a gun, I had a grin
You think this story’s over but it’s ready to begin

[MCA]
Now I got the gun – you got the brew
You got two choices of what you can do
It’s not a tough decision as you can see
I can blow you away or you can ride with me

[Ad-Rock]
I said, I’ll ride with you if you can get me to the border
The sheriff’s after me for what I did to his daughter
I did it like this, I did it like that
I did it with a wiffleball bat
So I’m on the run; the cop’s got my gun
And right about now it’s time to have some fun
The King Ad-Rock, that is my name
And I know the fly spot where they got the champagne
We rode for 6 hours then we hit the spot
The beat was a bumping & the girlies was hot
This dude was staring like he knows who we are
We took the empty spot next to him at the bar
MCA said, “ayo, you know this kid?”
I said, I didn’t, but I knew he did
The kid said, “get ready cause this ain’t funny
My name’s Mike D and I’m about to get money.”
Pulled out the jammy, aimed it at the sky
He yelled, “stick ’em up” and let two fly
Hands went up and people hit the floor
He wasted two kids that ran for the door
“I’m Mike D and I get respect
Your cash and your jewelry is what I expect”
MCA was with it & he’s my ace
So I grabbed the piano player & I punched him in the face
The piano player’s out, the music stopped
This boy had beef, and he got dropped
Mike D. grabbed the money
MCA snatched the gold
I grabbed two girlies and a beer that’s cold

I had the privilege to see them live and I can tell you, they put on an incredible show.  I remember seeing other rappers like Ludacris, Daz, Kurupt and OutKast stand backstage to see them perform in awe!  The album might be 30 years old, but it still holds up and is a landmark in Hip Hop history!

-Al E.

 

 

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