The group Beastie Boys started in New York City in 1991 and quickly became the first group of white rappers to gain fame. The group was Audman Yauch, Mike D, and Adam Hororvits. Much of their early fan base was middle-class Jewish youth who gravitated towards Manhattan’s style of music. However, the group quickly made a profound switch to punk even though they maintained much of their early rap roots. Throughout their career were known for not only their songs but also their outrageous shenanigans. Then, in 1992 they launched their record label that featured top names like Lucious Jackson and Ben Lee. However, the label ended less than a decade later because of financial issues caused by slow sales and growing debt. So, in 2004 they returned to Capital and released “To the 5 Boroughs.” The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Throughout their career, they’ve enjoyed astronomical fame and recorded some of the most iconic songs of the 90s. These are the 10 best Beastie Boys songs of all-time.
Fourteen years after the song dropped, the group finally explained the meaning in an Esquire interview. “Sabotage was the first single off their album “Ill Communication” and became one of the hottest tracks of the 90s. Much of the video is a cheesy nod to 1970s cop shows. However, it’s not the true meaning of the song. It’s actually about a sound engineer who drives them nuts. It started when the group received pressure to finish their album, and everyone wanted them to pick the songs and be done.
9. No Sleep Till Brooklyn
Every musician who goes on the road knows how it feels to want to go home. The group wrote this song after moving to New York, and one night, they were all tipsy; they realized there was a song in the adventure. The song is from the group’s debut album “Licensed to III. Russell Simmons, Def Jam Recordings founder, once said, “It was perfect, you know, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” It was a very New York song, a very hip hop song.”
8. Hey Ladies
Even people who aren’t familiar with the Beastie Boys know this track. After all, it was one of the most popular from their album “Paul’s boutique.” Unfortunately, it only reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it was the first single to make it on the Hot Rap Singles and Modern Rock Charts. Overall, it has a disco feel and has become a fan favorite. According to Pop Matters, it also cemented the group as one of the preeminent rappers and a group of campy fun loving guys.
7. Too Many Rappers
This song was a B list that never made the hit list despite being released on the famous album “Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2. Undoubtedly, it fell by the wayside because Yauch recently received a cancer diagnosis. A year later, he died. Much like some of Sublime’s videos, this is the last appearance fans saw of the singer. It wasn’t until years after the video dropped, even then it was missing some pieces, which is why the group initially didn’t release it.
6. Make Some Noise
Even though some thought they might not be able to top the first single on “Fight For Your Right Revisited,” they certainly did with this song. Much in the same vein as other songs in their catalog, the group infused their style of music, unabashed humor, and a fun music video all their fans loved. The video featured an elaborate set of dolls, and many fans wanted them to bring them to life and market them.
5. Bodhisatta Vow
According to Beastie Mania, In 1994, Adam Yauch said, ” the main thing I’m striving for right now is integrating the ability to only put out positive energy towards all other beings.” Throughout the songs, there are numerous references to Buddhism. Parts of the song are Buddhist chants. The song title means someone who reached nirvana but resists so they can help others. Additionally, the song is about being yourself, marching to the beat of your own drum but making sure to help people along the way.
According to Whale Bone Magazine, this song had the rare distinction of sounding like it was 1983 while also feeling like something futuristic. It was fours years and cross country treks before they released it right before Y2K. Mike D used a retro vocoder to create the iconic sound. The group wanted to use it for a while but couldn’t find a great song for it until they wrote “Intergalactic.” Originally the song was going on “Ill Communication,” but they didn’t feel like it belonged on the album. Despite how much fun the music is to listen to, Horovitz later felt like it was too campy and too over the top than he liked.
3. Make Some Noise
This song was the lead single off their album “Fight For Your Right Revisted.” The video also featured notable cameos, including Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, and Will Ferrell. Many thought the Beastie Boys wouldn’t release another album since one of its members was battling cancer. However, coming back with this song prooved, the Beastie Boys still could rock out.
2. Brass Monkey
The title of the song typically refers to a beer cocktail that mixes malt liquor and orange juice. However, according to Brokelyn, Mike D corrects them, stating it was actually a drink mixed with dark rum, vodka, and orange juice. Overall, the song is six minutes long, and even though there are many references to the drink, listeners can also hear many other stand-out lyrics.
1. Fight For Your Right to Party
Early in their career, many people wrote the Beastie Boys off, feeling they were nothing but a group of misfits with questionable talent. However, this song shot to the top of the charts and became an MTV staple after it dropped. The original inspirations for it were Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Three Stooges.