Beastie Boys – “Check Your Head” Anniversary Album Review

Beastie Boys – “Check Your Head” Album Anniversary

The Beastie Boys released their third studio album “Check Your Head” on April 21 1992.  The album was produced by Mario Caldato Jr and is the first album where the Beastie Boys play their own instruments as they did in their punk-rock days.


The album starts on the funky tip (but then, aren’t all Beastie Boy’s song that way?) with the lead track “Jimmy James”.  Accompanied by a dope Jimmi Hendrix guitar sample, the Beasties go to work with rhymes like,

“Bass From The Back Of My Car Feels Soothing
Eight Bazookas Is What I’m Using
I’m Mike D And It’s Been Proven
I Love It When I See The Party People Get Movin’
Strapped On The Ear Goggles And What Did I See
But The Music Brought The People Into Harmony”

My favorite track on the album has to be the dope “Pass The Mic” where they uncharacteristically take turns rocking the mic.  The track sample a dope bassline from the Johnny Hammond jazz track “Higher Ground” which is the same sample Dr Dre used on “Nigga Witta Gun”.  MCA starts it off nicely when he raps,

“If You Can Feel What I’m Feeling Then It’s A Musical Masterpiece
If You Can Hear What I’m Dealing With Then That’s Cool At Least
What’s Running Through My Mind Comes Through In My Walk
True Feelings Are Shown From The Way That I Talk
And This Is Me Y’All, I M.C. Y’All
My Name Is M.C.A. And I Still Do What I Please
And Now I’d Like To Introduce what’s up?
I’ll Pass The Mic To D. For A Fist Full Of Truth”

“Finger Lickin Good” sounds like a song dedicated to Colonel Sanders and in reality it’s funky like the chicken.  This is vintage Beasties rap with a sample of The 5th Dimension’s “Aquarius” playing in the intro and hook.

“Down some Papaya down with the revolution
Always wear my goggles ‘cuz there’s so much pollution
I can do the Freak, the Patty Duke and the Spank
Gotta free the funky fish from the funky fish tanks
I’ll sell my house, sell my car and I’ll sell all my stuff”
“I’m goin’ back to New York city I do believe I’ve had enough”

The one song that will get under your skin and is infectious as mononucleosis is “What’cha Want”.  As soon as you hear it, you want to hear it again and again.  The lyrics are classic Beastie-isms!

“Y’all suckers write me checks and then they bounce
So I reach into my pocket for the fresh amount
See I’m the long leaner Victor the Cleaner
I’m the illest motherfucker from here to Gardena
Well I’m as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce
You’ve got the rhyme and reason but no cause
Well if you’re hot to trot you think you’re slicker than grease
I’ve got news for you crews you’ll be sucking like a leech”

The Beasties play tribute to Pink Floyd and the rock/rap track “Gratitude” but that’s where a lot of Hip Hop Heads press the skip button.  They play their own instruments and sound great to those people that appreciate all types of music and genres, but I think that’s where some of the “Licensed to Ill” fans get thrown off.  It’s still a great track!

“Professor Booty” starts off nicely with the sample from “Wild Style” and then Mike D goes to work with his rhymes that go,

“You’ve got the boomin’ system But it’s blasting out doo-doo
You think it’s chocolate milk But it’s watered down yoo-hoo
I’ve been through many times In which I thought I might lose it
The only thing that saved me Has always been music
We’ve got our own studio the son of the G
It’s no question life’s been good to me
‘Cause life ain’t nothing but a good groove
A good mix tape to put you in the right mood
This one goes out to my man the Groove Merchant
Coming through with beats For which I’ve been searching
Like two sealed copies of expansions
I’m like Tom Vu with yachts and mansions
The logo I sport is the face of the monkey
Union made Ben Davis quality it’s no junk see
My chrome is shining just like an icicle
I ride around town on my low-rider bicycle”

The album is dope but it doesn’t match “Licensed to Ill” or “Paul’s Boutique”.  It has bravado and funky tracks but there’s a couple of filler songs that make it inferior to their previous two albums!  Still, Beasties keep it old school and any Beastie Boys album is worth buying since they have never dissapointed their fans.

“Can’t front on that!”

-Al E.



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