Category: Beastie Boys

Album review: Beastie Boys' 'Hot Sauce Committee Part Two'

BEASTIE_BOYS_HOT_SAUCE_230“Oh, my God –- just look at me / Grandpa been rapping since ’83”.

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.

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Topspin's Ian Rogers: How I met the Beastie Boys

Zoe and Ian Rogers How does a nerdy fanboy get to go on tour with the hottest band of his time?

Our profile of Ian Rogers of Topspin in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times deliberately left out the story of how Rogers met the Beastie Boys in the early 1990s and was invited to go on the road with the band.

We omitted the details not because we were lazy, but because Rogers (pictured on the right with his daughter Zoe in 1996) himself told it best. His description of the events, sent as an e-mail response to our questions, is a picture of serendipity, powered by a couple of good ideas along the way. Want to go on tour with Radiohead or Eminem? Read on, and you might find some tips.

The following is an edited version of Rogers' story, in his own words. It starts out with how he met John Silva, the Beastie Boys' longtime manager, in 1993. 

There wasn't a computer in John Silva's office, which was called Gold Mountain Management at the time. There was a record label down the hall called World Domination, which had the only Internet connection in the building. Jason Fiber, who worked at World Domination, saw the Beastie Boys site I'd created and walked down the hall to Silva's office. "You have to see this," Fiber told Silva. They saw it, and John had his assistant Bethann reach out to me.

I started working for Gold Mountain as a consultant from that point, building websites for their artists for $8.50 an hour, which was a lot of money to me at the time. In addition to the Beastie Boys, I helped with the Breeders, Redd Kross, Bonnie Raitt and others.

When the Beastie Boys came through Los Angeles for Lollapalooza in 1994, Bethann called to see if I wanted to come. I was a punk rock kid and wasn't interested in the big festival shows on principal. I'd already seen the Beastie Boys a few times and didn't really want to see them with 20,000 other people. The conversation went something like this:

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A call from Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch for cancer-smashing good vibes

Yauch600
At Coachella last weekend, Friday headliner Jay-Z blasted out the Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" as his intro music. It got us thinking about Adam "MCA" Yauch, who announced last year that he had been diagnosed with cancer.

Maybe Yauch felt our concern -- that is, the collective concern of many people on the Indio polo grounds who had the same thought. Members of the Beastie Boys fan club got an e-mail Tuesday morning from MCA asking fans to try out a meditation/positive visualization exercise:

wanted to send this out to you guys in case you were into it, or wanted to give it to anyone who you think might be.

a few friends and i are meditating at the same time twice a day. 9:30am and 6:30pm eastern standard time, for about an hour and half.

we are picturing smashing apart all of the cancer cells in the world.

we are visualizing taking the energy away from the cancer, and then sending it back at the cancer as lightening bolts that will break apart the DNA and RNA of the cells. if you have the time, please join us in whipping up this lightening storm. mind over matter...

Last July, the husky-voiced Beastie Boy announced in a video to fans that he had cancer in his salivary glands. He quickly underwent surgery and started radiation. Last year, he also switched to a vegan diet, traveled to India, met with Tibetan doctors and attended a three-day teaching with the Dalai Lama.

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Adam 'MCA' Yauch of Beastie Boys diagnosed with cancer; album, tour postponed

Yauch

One of the year’s most anticipated album/tour campaigns has been pushed back indefinitely due to the shocking announcement from the Beastie Boys camp this morning that the one of their members has been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor.

“Adam 'MCA' Yauch of Beastie Boys was diagnosed last week as having a cancerous tumor in his left parotid [salivary] gland,” reads the official press release from EMI Music. “Luckily it was caught early and is localized in one area, and as such is considered very treatable. It will however require surgery and several weeks of additional treatment. Fortunately the cancer is not in a location that will affect Yauch's vocal chords. Beastie Boys have canceled all upcoming concert appearances to allow time for Yauch's surgery and recovery. The release of the band's forthcoming album 'Hot Sauce Committee Part 1' will also be pushed back.”

This scraps dates slated for summer festivals such as Chicago’s Lollapalooza and San Francisco’s Outside Lands. Locally, this means that the band’s debut at the Hollywood Bowl scheduled for Sept. 24 will have to wait for another summer.

Yauch originally made the announcement via YouTube, where he did his best to maintain a sense of humor about the diagnosis: “It's a pain in the neck (sorry had to say it) because I was really looking forward to playing these shows, but the doctors have made it clear that this is not the kind of thing that can be put aside to deal with later."

Here’s to a fast and full recovery.

--Scott T. Sterling

Photo: Adam “MCA” Yauch onstage at this year's Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

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