There once was a time, prior to the existence of iTunes, YouTube, and even the Internet itself, when the Beastie Boys sat on the throne of the New York hip-hop kingdom. Nas had just turned thirteen and Jay-Z was still selling crack in Marcy projects when the Beastie Boys dropped their first studio album Licensed to Ill in 1986. Since then the landscape of hip-hop has changed dramatically, however the Beastie Boys have not. Well perhaps their hair has turned a tad grey and their skin is a little wrinkly but their sound has not aged one bit. Their new album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is a solid project that features the beastie’s signature rock & roll influenced vocals with a very modern twist on the production side of things. While some of the album sounds somewhat repetitive, there is a selection of standout tracks that are true testaments to the unconventional artistic wisdom that the Beastie Boys have to offer.
Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 was originally supposed to drop in 2009 but earlier that year MCA was diagnosed with cancer, which forced the trio to delay the release. However they did release the first single off the album in the summer of that year called “Too Many Rappers” featuring Nas. Lyrically, “Too Many Rappers” is a raw old school type of rap track that playfully addresses the lack of real MC’s in the game. Nas is an appropriate guest on this song as his distaste with some of hip-hop’s recent trends has been well documented. The song can best be summed up by the first line of the chorus, which goes “One Two Three, Too Many Rappers Not Enough MC’s”. The production on “Too Many Rappers” is quite the contrary from the old school lyrics as the beat consists of futuristic dubstep style noises mixed with traditional rock instruments. In fact, the Beasties experiment with sounds commonly found in genres like dubstep, 8bit and drum and bass throughout the album, most notably on the track “Here’s A Little Something For Ya”. The Beasties vintage rap techniques mixed with the fresh sounds of the modern dubstep esk beat combine to make “Here’s A Little Something For Ya” a very innovative track, and one of the highlights of the album. “Here’s A Little Something For Ya” also contains other unorthodox instruments such as a cowbell, which happens to be an device used on a variety of other songs including the intro to the album “Make Some Noise”. “Make Some Noise” is arguably the best cut on the album due to its funky a$$ beat and its funny a$$ lyrics. MCA uses his age to his advantage on his verse as he spits the witty bars “I burn the competition like a flame thrower / My rhymes age like wine as I get older”. “Make Some Noise” can also be heard on the Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 promotional video “Fight For Your Right Revisited” which is a short film in continuation to the Beastie Boys classic “Fight For Your Right” that features appearances by an abundance of celebrities including Seth Rogan, Danny McBride, Will Ferrell, and Elijah Wood just to name a few. Other noteworthy tracks on the album include the instrumental joint “Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament” and the Santigold assisted “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”.
Aside from a few weaker tracks such as “Say It” which sounds like a poor impersonation of Rage Against The Machine, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 is a quality project that fans of all ages can rock to. The new production techniques used on this album appeal to a younger generation of fans, while listeners are still treated to the Beastie Boy’s wacky yet colorful personas on the mic that older fans have been familiar with for decades. The “Fight For Your Right Revisited” video is also a great look for the New York trio as the A-list cast featured in the film is bound to broaden the Beastie’s audience. I don’t want to call HSCP2 a comeback album because the Beastie Boys never really fell off. However it has been seven years since their last album (excluding 2007’s instrumental album The Mix-Up) and Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 most definitely put them back on the map in an unexpectedly loud way. While the glory days of LL Cool J, Run DMC and the rest of early Def Jam are far beyond us, The Beastie Boys prove their presence in music is still extremely relevant by doing what they do best; never being afraid to take risks, while always keeping it real.
4 Mics Out Of 5 Mics