Cover Art
Beastie Boys
Hello Nasty!

[Grand Royal/Capitol]
Rating: 8.5

In twelve years the Beastie Boys have grown out of their ubiquitous White Castle references and mammoth inflatable penises. Now they chill with the Dali Lama and MCA spins prayer wheels intead of cutting up wax. If, somehow, the Beastie Boys do manage to free Tibet, Tibetan History 101 textbooks of the 21st Century should be ironically entertaining to us Westerners.

A Peace of History-- The Story of Your Tibet, 2057 Edition
Chapter 12: No Sleep Til Freedom

"During the late Summer of 1998, news began to reach Bejing of rampant non- violent protests throughout Tibet. Chinese stormtroopers met no opposition from the brave people of Tibet, but their actions became the global scrutinty of Western nations, American pop/rock bands, and Richard Gere. The Chinese goverment would not back down from the pacifist prayer protests of the Tibet people, the threatened trade embargos, or Richard Gere's constant threats to make a sequel to "Red Corner," which he swore would make the Chinese look "really, really evil." The final blow to the Chinese finally came when the American Savior Group, the Beastie Boys, vowed not to tour or release the Savior Group's fifth record, Hello Nasty [see Review, Appendix D], to the one billion hip-hop and NBA- brainwashed Chinese teens. For this salvation, the Beastie Boys were placed on the face of Tibet's new currency, the royale..."

Appendix D- Hello Nasty Review, Pitchfork Internet Media, July, 1998

Hello Nasty is a New York salad-- diced beats, trans- oceanic influences, traffic, noise pollution, construction, b-ball speak, bold pop- culture billboards and neon, tossed well in braggadocio. Consistently the only group to reinvent the sounds of rap, the Beastie Boys' latest incarnation introduces rococo hip-hop with layers and layers of samples, sirens, vocal effects, synths, loops, whistles, and robots. Songs rarely end with any resemblance to their beginnings, having metamorphasized once or twice already during their courses.

For the first time, the Beastie Boys seem to have over- focused on the musical bedrock. Adrock's toy drum-n-bass experiments on his BS2000 side project really shows its influence, as Hello Nasty feels like a blender mix of BS2000's hyperactive Tokyo scitter and Paul's Boutique's sample pastiche. Even the run-on blue lyric sheet directly mimics Paul's Boutique's booklet.

Unfortunately, the lyrics seemed mailed in. Or perhaps my ears have become immunized to hearing Knick-names, literature and film references, and tongue- in- cheek chest- beating from earlier albums. I hate to sound picky, but it's their own fault for making Paul's Boutique so awesome. However, lord knows, I'll take "I'm the king of Boggle/ There is no higher/ I get eleven points off the word quagmire" over "Make 'Em Say Ugghh."

The Beastie Boys can still beautifully sponge up the musical zeitgeist. Hello Nasty lays a thick roll of Bounty over the juicy happenings of electronic music and wrings the wetness into their own credo. Echoes of Bjork, Tricky, Massive Attack, and the Chemical Brothers can be heard throughout; the hypnotically mumbled "Flowin' Prose" could have come off Tricky's Angels With Dirty Faces. The inhumanly funky "The Move" comes off like a train wreck between "Paul Revere," "Jimmy James," and Underworld. Bonus points for the incorporation of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz's Mix Master Mik who keeps the groove fresh with the underground hip-hop movement.

At this point the Beastie Boys' greatest weakness is their inability to surprise. The transitions between License to Ill, Paul's Boutique, and Check Your Head were genius. By now, however, the overblown expectations and familiarity keep the Beastie Boys from consistantly bowling over the world. And while Hello Nasty is far from the brilliant party of Paul's Boutique or the crunchy funk of Check Your Head, it's undeniably more original than any other hip-hop record released this year.

-Brent DiCrescenzo

Mon: 05-15-06

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