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REVIEWED INTERNATIONALLY: Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (Capitol)

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by Cheri Amour

In their hazy youth, the Beastie Boys’ sound was a potent brew of party-based spats showcased masterfully in their ’86 release, Licensed To Ill which became the first rap album to make it to the top of the Billboard charts. Equally, the video for ‘Fight For Your Right’ became an MTV staple for awkward mega-nerds everywhere …

Originally scheduled for release in 2009, but put back due to MCA’s battle with cancer, this re-jigged offering entitled Hot Sauce Committee Part Two marks the Beastie Boys’ return to their 80s street-smart rhymes with aplomb. The video for the title track features an array of well-known faces. For example, Elijah Wood steps up to the mic, not unconvincingly, as Ad Rock in all his full cap glory …

After the political-based activism of 2007’s To The Five Boroughs, it’s refreshing to see the group returning to their original strengths; humour and sharp wit. Surely, when it comes to the Beastie Boys, we don’t want to have to trawl through weighty verses on recent news events or the world as it stands today when we can be dazzled by neat gems like “Ad Rock is in the bathroom with chocolate fondue” and “All these crab rappers, they rappin’ like crabs?” ‘Nonstop Disco Powerpack’, with its heady blend of reverb and lulling bass line, offers up the classic food-based banter that has firmly planted this trio into hip-hop heritage as they contemplate the new kids on the rapping block: “I take sucker rappers, I put ’em through a strainer like macaroni ’cause the shit sound cheesy”.

But we haven’t waited two years for the Beastie Boys to simply rest on their rhyme-time laurels. Hell no, there are a few new additions here. (What does one call a gang of Beasties anyway, a hood? A goober?) Classifications aside, ‘Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win’, features fresh faced R&B upstart, Santigold and enjoys a sunny reggae lilt that adds a splash of Downtown cool to this album. While ‘Too Many Rappers’, featuring home town pal Nas, has the kind of trashy, warehouse drum sound that wouldn’t be out of place on a N*E*R*D remix.

You can’t deny the role of the Beastie Boys in modern day hip-hop; from the 80s culture, vintage sneakers and sweet skate moves to their continual insistence on fighting “for the right to motherfucking party” (another self-referential wisecrack here). This album may not break any new ground or new sounds, but the one they have brought back has been sorely missed.

As The Beastie Boys themselves say, this record is smooth like a “rhyme elixir”. And it tastes good.

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