Beastie Boys - CHECK YOUR HEAD VinylRegular price $42.93
The Beastie Boys: Adrock (vocals, guitar); MCA (vocals, bass); Mike D (vocals, drums).
Additional personnel: Mark Ramos Nishita (keyboards); Sian Harwood (background vocals), Biz Markie.
Recorded at G-Son Studios, Atwater Village, California.
A marked improvement over the deluxe reissue of PAUL'S BOUTIQUE, this double-disc (or four-LP) set also befits the usual overstuffed retrospective more naturally, given the original CHECK YOUR HEAD's immersion in several styles. The 16 songs of bonus material feature familiar B-sides ((like "Drinkin' Wine"), live tracks, and instrumentals. Bute alternate versions of classic tracks (including two remixes and a live version of "So What'cha Want") are even more revealing, inspiring admiration for both HEAD's wide-openness for interpretation and its effectiveness as a stripped-down jam session. The original release, remastered or not, holds up as a bridge between the beat-and-sample mashing of old school hip-hop and the genre's alterna-esoteric future, a testament to how the Beasties defined each end of the spectrum.
Some albums define an era, a place, a certain time in one's life; they exist as soundtracks for our memories, bringing that extra scent of poignancy to them. CHECK YOUR HEAD practically defined the summer of 1992 for those who were wary of the mainstreaming of rap and somewhat bored by the insurgency of grunge. By holding their heads firmly outside of any particular musical genre, MCA, Adrock & Mike D. created their own space; distorted, fuzzy, peppered with the swagger of punk and the rootsy earthiness of early-'70s soul-jazz, and layered with ten years of hip-hop know-how.
From the opening chords of "Jimmy James," it's clear that the Beastie Boys would have a chance to permanently shed the label of "fratboy rappers" that LICENSED TO ILL had forced upon them. Lo-fi, garagy, guitar-riff-loaded tracks like "Pass Da Mic" and "Gratitude" made it clear that the Beastie Boys could be taken as serious musical forces, even innovators. Yet they could still call back on their silly selves for romps like "Professor Booty" and "Funky Boss." One of the best albums of the 90's, CHECK YOUR HEAD is a turning point for a band and the genesis of a new musical hybrid.
- Format: Vinyl