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,
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
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.