The Beastie Boys are overrated as all fucking hell, and their music borderline sucks.
Can someone please explain the appeal of three Jewish guys from New York unironically rapping in whiny nasally voices? Is there something I’m missing? I can’t figure out for the life of me how the fuck these guys got famous.
The Beastie Boys are one of those music acts that nobody can ever bring themselves to say anything bad about for some reason. We all just blindly accept that their music is good, never stopping to ask ourselves, “Is this actually good? Do I actually enjoy listening to this shit?”. The truth is, the Beastie Boys kind of suck.
The only reason these guys got any mileage out of their mediocre act is because they came around when the hip-hop/rap scene was just starting to go mainstream (it had been around since the early 70’s but didn’t really catch on outside of black communities), and their non-threatening lyrics and appearance appealed to rich white college students who had no idea what actual hip-hop was about. It also helps that they all came from wealthy backgrounds. Mike D.’s parents were art dealers, MCA’s father was an architect, and Ad-Rock’s dad was a playwright. They basically had their careers handed to them on silver platters.
If the Beastie Boys came out even five years later nobody would have given two fucks about their nasally bullshit, and I wouldn’t have to hear the local rock station play “Intergalactic” at least twice a week.
“Intergalactic” is a great example of why the Beastie Boys lyrically suck. Look at this shit:
Well, now, don’t you tell me to smile
You stick around I’ll make it worth your while
My number’s beyond what you can dial
Maybe it’s because we’re so versatile
Style, profile, I said
It always brings me back when I hear, “ooh, child!”
From The Hudson River out to the Nile
I run the marathon to the very last mile
Well, if you battle me I feel reviled
People always sayin’ my style is wild
You’ve got gall, you’ve got guile
Step to me I’m a rap-o-phile
If you want to battle you’re in denial
Comin’ from Uranus to check my style
Go ahead, put my rhymes on trial
Cast you off into exile
What the fuck are you even trying to say here? Your rhymes are basically just pointless drivel with no significance or meaning, they make next to no sense. They sound like you bought a rhyme dictionary, found every word that rhymes with “style”, then realized that being creative was hard work and threw it together into some kind of schizophrenic word salad.
Another good example of why the Beastie Boys suck is their song “Girls”:
Back in the day
There was this girl around the way
She liked my home-piece MCA
He said he would not give her play
I asked him, please? He said “You may”
Her pants were tight and that’s OK
If she would dance, I would DJ
We took a walk down to the bay
I hope she’ll say
“Hey, me and you should hit the hay”
I asked her out, she said “No way”
I should of probably guessed their gay
So I broke north with no delay
I heard she moved real far away
That was two years ago this May
I seen her just the other day
Jockin’ Mike D to my dismay
I get it, I know this song (or even most of their music for that matter) isn’t meant to be taken seriously, but it doesn’t excuse how terrible these lyrics are. All you did was rhyme every single word that ends with a long A sound. I stand by my theory that Adam Horowitz used a rhyme dictionary to come up with his shitty half-assed lyrics.
For comparison, here’s some lyrics from “Ain’t No Half-Steppin'” by Big Daddy Kane, a rapper from the 80’s who was actually good:
Rappers stepping to me they want to get some
But I’m the Kane, so yo, you know the outcome
Another victory, they can’t get with me
So pick a BC date ’cause you’re history
I’m the authentic poet to get lyrical
For you to beat me, it’s gonna take a miracle
And stepping to me, yo that’s the wrong move
So what you on, Hobbs, dope or dog food?
Competition I just devour like a pitbull against a Chihuahua
Cause when it comes to being dope, hot damn
I got it good, now let me tell you who I am
The B I G D A double D Y K A N E
THAT’S how you write a rap song, motherfucker. “Pick a BC date ’cause you’re history”. Fucking diamonds.
Okay, maybe that’s not fair, Big Daddy Kane’s style was pretty different from what the Beastie Boys were going for.
Here’s some lyrics from “You Be Illin'” by Run-DMC, who were much more similar in style:
Today you won a ticket to see Doctor J
Front row seat (in free!) no pay
Radio in hand, snacks by feet
Game’s about to start, you kickin’ popcorn to the beat
You finally wake up, Doc’s gone to town
Round his back, through the hoop, then you scream “Touchdown!”
You be illin’
The other day around the way I seen you illin’ at a party
Drunk as skunk you illin’ punk and in your left hand was Bacardi
You went up to this fly girl and said “Yo, yo, can I get this dance?”
She smelt your breath and then she left you standin’ in your illin’
You be illin’
For dinner, you ate it, there is none left
It was salty, with butter and it was def
You proceeded to eat it ’cause you was in the mood
But holmes you did not read it was a can of dog food!
You be illin’
THAT’S how you write a comedic rap song, motherfucker.
You’re probably wondering why the opening sentence of this article says they only “borderline suck”.
As a man of integrity and fairness, I feel it’s only fair to mention that the Beastie Boys don’t totally suck. They may be garbage lyrically, but their beats and instrumentals are okay. Not good, not great, just okay. I have never turned off the radio when the Beastie Boys came on. Compared to George Thorogood’s cover of “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”, which I have actually sprained my wrist reaching for the radio to turn off. I can tolerate the Beastie Boys, and if I’m drunk enough I can even dance to their music. They’re kind of like the AC/DC of rap music, generic enough that you can put them on when you’re loaded then turn your mind off and have fun.
Still, being tolerable isn’t the same as being good.
The fact that the Beastie Boys were three white Jewish guys from the Bronx is what made them stand out. If the Beastie Boys were black nobody would have even known who the fuck they were, they’d have just gone down in music history as yet another generic forgotten hip-hop act. They might have gotten lucky enough to open for actual talent like Run-DMC or Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five once or twice, but that’s it. Want proof? How many black Beastie Boys fans have you met? How many white suburban Beastie Boys fans have you met? Exactly. I’ve never met a brother who said “Yo put on them Beastie Boys”, but every time I go to a hipster bar I hear “Intergalactic” without fail. The Beastie Boys are cheap crap-rap made by rich white people for rich white people to make them feel hip and urban.
Let’s stop perpetuating this lie that the Beastie Boys are good and just admit that they’re basically forced corporate crap that was better off being left in the 80’s. If you want actual good hip-hop from the 80’s with good lyrics and good beats listen to Run-DMC or Grandmaster Flash.
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