In honor of the Beastie Boys' 24th Anniversary, Capitol Records released Solid Gold Hits. The 15 selections are fairly predictable and somewhat pedestrian, but one should expect this going into a "Greatest Hits" purchase. What is perhaps most unsettling is the unfortunate decision to feature only two tracks from Paul's Boutique ("Hey Ladies" and "Shake Your Rump"). On the other hand, we do get a taste of what the Beasties built their kingdom on - and that may be the critical point here: The Kingdom. We've all heard the hits, and most of us already have the albums. This is a chance to consider just how dope the Beastie Boys really are.
For starters, can anyone explain how three white Jewish guys from wealthy New York parents turned hip-hop inside out? No, you can't - if you could, you'd be Rick Rubin or some shit. The story of the Beastie Boys (which is sorta what a "Greatest Hits" compilation is all about) is arguably as interesting as their songs "Pass The Mic," "Root Down," and "Intergalactic" (all featured here). These three freaks invented rap-rock. Back in 1981 they took punk and drove it through the ghetto while laughing out the window. They couldn't play instruments yet somewhere along the line, they learned, and on 1992's Check Your Head, they played every single one. After conquering the charts, they created their own record label - Grand Royal - and started a mag by the same name. By the time they switched gears from kegs at mom's to the instrumental funk-jazz record The In Sound From Way Out!, they were super stars, and when they segued from porno mags to forming the Tibetan Freedom concert, they were full-blown legends. The arc of their career is staggering. From being hated by hip-hop purists and feminists the world over to more than twenty years of doing it how they want when they want, the Beastie Boys will certainly go down as one of the most influential groups of the past two decades. Solid Gold Hits is a nice reminder of how far they've come and serves as a warning to anyone who laughs in the face of change. If three Jewish white dudes from the 'burbs can hijack hip-hop and make it theirs, anything is possible.
JamBase | San Francisco
Go See Live Music!