Tuesday, September 27, 2011

#28: Beastie Boys - Ill Communication

Release Year: 1994

Beastie Boys are an interesting sort of rap group.  White people love them, and they started out as a hardcore punk outfit.  License to Ill and Paul's Boutique were two of the most influential rap albums of the 80s, and they pretty much wrote the book on sampling with the latter.

For me, though, Ill Communication is where they shine the most.  This album has style.  With this one, they focused more on music then with any of their previous records; that's why it has no shortage of instrumental tracks, and most of the vocals are distorted.  I'm not sure what message they were trying to send by doing this, but I like it.

This is more Beastie Boys as musicians than Beastie Boys as emcees.  While I don't like the two hardcord punk tracks on this album, I appreciate their role in showing us their roots.  One of my favorite tracks here, "Bodhisattva Vow," has a cool Indian feel to it.  And "Get It Together," one of the few straight raps, featuring Q-Tip, just flows beautifully.  The Beasties peaked at this album; each studio album following this got progressively less awesome.

Standout tracks:
  • Get It Together
  • Bodhisattva Vow
  • Do It
  • Root Down 

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