Beastie Boys - "Intergalactic"

It's impossible to hate the Beastie Boys.  Mike D, Ad-Rock, and MCA get the nod from everyone ranging from the hip hop heads to your typical belligerently drunk college frat boy and are one of the most well-respected groups in the history of the genre.  Sure it can be argued that the New York group helped move hip hop further away from its roots as a form of (black) political protest, but contemporaries Run-D.M.C. had already done more than enough to nudge the genre in that direction.  The Beasties also weren't the first (nor certainly the last) act to come from a predominately middle class background (see Run-D.M.C., Rakim, Kanye, and Talib Kweli among others).

For better or worse, the group did open the door for a generation of white rappers from Vanilla Ice and Asher Roth to Slug and Eminem (who gained interest in the genre after first hearing the Beastie Boys' debut album).  It could be argued that this move was inevitable as white people have taken every other African-American art, some would even argue that it was for the better of the genre.  It's hard to separate the Beasties from the events that have occurred since the former punk rock group's proper hip hop debut, Licensed to Ill, topped the charts back in 1986, but as a hip hop head I try to separate the emcees from their race.

At the end of the day, the Beastie Boys just have fun with their music.  They don't take themselves very seriously, preferring to reference Star Trek or old video games in their lyrics than to let a political rhyme leave the lips of the trio (an attitude that has been adopted by later groups such as Mad Rad and The Physics). Stylistically, the group is very similar to Run-D.M.C.  While most group acts trade verses between emcees the trio often trades bars and, in many cases ends one another's sentences.  Like Run-D.M.C., the group's early material relied heavily on rock samples.  Their second release, Paul's Boutique, which sampled 105 songs over the course of 53 minutes of music, is considered a classic sample-based album (Chuck D of Public Enemy remarked at the time, it was the "dirty secret" among the black hip-hop community that "Paul's Boutique had the best beats" around at that time).

The Beastie Boys have evolved over the course of their career that has spanned seven albums and will entering its fourth decade with the groups heavily anticipated album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 1, which is set to be released in September.  The group has maintained its signature call-and-response vocals and their lyrics remain full of obscure pop-culture references, but beginning with 1998's Hello Nasty, the Beasties have begun to experiment with synthesizers and a futuristic sound (as evidenced by this song).

Originally expected to be a one-hit wonder, the Beastie Boys have evolved and grown over the course of their career.  As a result, they are not only the best Caucasian Jewish hip hop group, but have become one of the most influential hip hop groups (regardless of race) in the history of the genre.

Peace, Love, & Beasties,

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