Thursday, June 17, 2004

The Beasties
"Ill Communication" is one of my favorite rap albums, and I have to admit that list is shamefully short. So if I can I'll check out their newest release, the first since "Hello Nasty" 6 years ago. David Segal has a review in the Washington Post that considers the daunting task of rapping into middle-age, and says that the Beastie Boys have decided to embrace it, not fake it.
How many kids, for instance, will grasp the origins of "I've got billions and billions of rhymes to flex / Cause I've more rhymes than Carl Sagan's got turtlenecks"? And how many will understand the meaning of "On a track so slick it'll make you feel all queasy / Make you do like Fred Sanford with 'I'm coming, Weezy!' "? (And how many will spot the blooper: Weezy was the wife in "The Jeffersons," not to be confused with Fred Sanford's deceased wife, Elizabeth, on "Sanford and Son.")

There are plenty of allusions to vintage entertainment: the movie "Being There," the original "Star Trek" series, "Diff'rent Strokes." Even some relatively ancient commercials get name-checked. On "Rhyme the Rhyme Well" everyone hushes after this line: "Shhhhh. You heard me like I'm E.F. Hutton."
When artists grow older without continuing to innovate, it can be a bad scene. We'll see how BB make out--sounds like they're trying to walk that line with some semblance of integrity.

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