Renewing a License to Ill

After 25 years since their last release the Beastie Boys have dropped a new album.
After 25 years since their last release the Beastie Boys have dropped a new album.

The Beastie Boys have been a huge act in hip-hop since the beginning, and have tirelessly churned out brilliant, ground-breaking albums. For all of the white rappers who have forced white listeners to put their head in their hands, the Beastie Boys have always been there to satisfy the haters and help the genre progress. No matter which modern Vanilla Ice comes next, whenever someone starts hating on white rappers, the Beastie Boys get brought into the argument, and the hater is forced to shut their spiteful mouth.

Twenty-five years after their debut Licensed to Ill, the Beastie Boys released Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2, a smile-inducing record that gives fans another unbeatable example in the white rapper debate. A truly admirable mix of modern studio methods and undeniably old school songs, the Beastie Boys bring their usual whiny screams to a new level on the insanely gritty record.

The single “Make Some Noise,” plays like something from “Ill Communication,” but bangs like “A Milli.”  With lyrics they’ve been known to provide in a retro and ‘80s hip-hop style, the song (as well as the entire album) reminds us of what the Boys have done for their entire career, but manage to keep it youthful and fresh. Adrock raps “I fly like a hawk, or better yet an eagle, a seagull. I sniff suckers out like a beagle. My ego is off, and running, and gone. Cause I’m about the best and if you diss then that’s wrong.”

Certain parts of the album tend to feel like recreated Beastie Boys hits.  While listeners welcome these imitations, it brings the Beastie Boys further away from growth. “Say It,” has the dirty, grunge guitars under it just like “Sabotage,” as well as similar kinds of vinyl scratches.

However, they are definitely not attempting to relive the glory days. The Beastie Boys are very aware of their status in hip-hop, and would be the last guys to release something they aren’t 100 percent behind. Their well-crafted and unique sound may replicate itself from time to time, but its originality excuses any repetition. As they’ve been known to do, a few outliers are thrown into the mix. The fantastically dubbed out “Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament,” is an instrumental with funk elements like talk box and powerful bass that adds up to a welcomed and calm intermission from the rest of the aggressive sound on the album.  The song that comes just before “Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament,” is entitled “Lee Majors Come Again.” A straightforward hardcore song that sounds like it could have been recorded live, “Lee Majors Come Again” applies the same grainy style as their hip-hop songs, allowing the rappers to feel at home.

It’s good to know that some groups out there are just talented. There are no gimmicks, no forced departure from their reliable sound, no annoyingly mature lyrics that the rappers feel are necessary because of their age, no studio cleanup to adjust the raw and hardcore sound. There is just a fun and rowdy album from one of hip-hop’s most celebrated and consistent acts.