So goes a telling new rhyme from iconic hip-hoppers Beastie Boys off the New York City trio’s just-released eighth album, "Hot Sauce Committee Part Two." It’s factually correct: The group released its first rap single, “Cooky Puss,” nearly three decades ago -- more like three centuries in terms of hip-hop shelf life. None of the Beasties’ peers enjoy the contemporary relevance that Ad-Rock (Adam Horowitz) and his bandmates Mike D (Mike Diamond) and MCA (Adam Yauch) carry.
Most rap pioneers also aren’t known for making exciting new music, period -– including the Beasties. The group’s last non-instrumental effort, 2004’s "To the Five Boroughs," received a relatively tepid response. "Hot Sauce," however, is exactly the Beasties album that the public has been salivating for, and more -- not just a return to form, but a masterpiece on the level of '80s classics like their raucous debut "Licensed to Ill" and the staggering sample odyssey "Paul’s Boutique."
What makes "Hot Sauce" so vital is that the Beasties sound hungrier than most musicians currently posting their first Internet demos. This is vintage Beasties, all exuberant pass-the-mike battle rhymes and gritty break-beats so funky, it’s near impossible not to head-bob through the entire record -- or slam dance, as the hard-core thump on “Lee Majors Come Again” so inspires. These aesthetics prove not so much dated as timeless: The Beasties don’t sound as if they’re repeating themselves as much as creating fresh grooves with a sensibility that’s proved enduring.
Revered MC Nas makes a stellar guest appearance here on “Too Many Rappers”; you can practically hear him grinning through his verses. Santigold also cameos memorably on “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win,” adding Brooklyn dancehall fire and a welcome feminine contrast to the b-boy stances. But the momentum on "Hot Sauce" truly comes from the original members’ committed, energetic performances, in particular that of MCA.