There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune

The Best And The Worst, Vol. II

E-mail this post

Remember me (?)

All personal information that you provide here will be governed by the Privacy Policy of More...

Yesterday, I came home after a meeting and was surprised to find, in my inbox, a message asking if I could make a presentation the following day to the Board of Directors of a prospective client. So I cursed a bit, then put together the draft presentation, got a good night's sleep, and put the finishing touches on the bad boy this morning.

In the cab to the meeting, I engaged in a ritual that has been standard procedure for high school and college exams, job interviews and big presentations. I picked up my iPod, dialed "Beastie Boys" and listened to the aggressive, heart-pumping tunes in order to raise my adrenaline to an acceptable level. And the presentation? Crushed it.

So, without further ado:

The Best And The Worst - Vol II: Beastie Boys Track to Pump You Up for an Exam, Interview or Meeting

The Best: Rhymin and Stealin
The introductory track to the Beasties' breakout studio album, Licensed to Ill, "Rhymin and Stealin" owes not a little to Rick Rubin's maverick style of production. Rubin, who famously co-founded* Def Jam Records in his NYU dorm-room, was insistent that the Beastie Boys incorporate rock-and-roll in their first hip-hop album, in order to ensure crossover commercial success. Back before a 1992 Federal Court ruling against Biz Markie, artists were free to sample other music, and Rubin chose to sample Led Zeppelin's brilliant drum beat from "When The Levee Breaks", a "Pump You Up" track in its own right. As Stephen Davis describes in his definitive Zeppelin bio Hammer of The Gods, they achieved the unforgettable sound of this beat by recording John Bonham from the top of a three-story stairwell. This drum beat is combined with a sample from Black Sabbath to provide a perfect foil for the Beasties' yelling, whiny lyrics regarding pillaging and other such nonsense. As the Spin critic noted, "...[The Beasties] yowl about Betty Crocker and Colonel Sanders over samples of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath". Now THAT's a "Pump You Up" song.

Honourable Mentions: Rock Hard, The New Style, Sabotage, Shake Your Rump, No Sleep Till Brooklyn

The Worst: "Fight for your Right"
Since I am restricting myself to fast-paced Beastie Boys songs, I'll take this one, even though it isn't really a bad track; it's just over-rated and not representative of the Beasties' scope of talent. Adam Yauch (MCA) reportedly cringed at his wedding when his father quoted this song's title, and its a shame that it is so inexorably linked with their band that it will inevitably appear in their obituaries.

*Rubin co-founded Def-Jam with MC Run's brother Russell Simmons, with whom I took a yoga class in the East Village last November. After class, Simmons walks into the change room, gives me a casual "wussup", then says to one of his buddies "Yo, I know a dope falafel place round the corner, you comin'?" True story.

0 Responses to “The Best And The Worst, Vol. II”

Leave a Reply

      Convert to boldConvert to italicConvert to link


About me

  • I'm Sunset Shazz
  • Living the dream in Istanbul, Turkey
  • I grew up in the hardscrabble streets of suburban Ottawa, Ontario, committing petty crime, insulting the elderly - basically the classic misspent youth. When I was 19, I moved to West Philly, where I put myself through the Wharton School by dealing crack and hustling. After stints in Paris and London, I eventually graduated and moved to San Francisco, where I put in eight years hard labor working for The Man. But now I pop bottles with models, deciding cracked crab or lobster - who says mobsters don't prosper?
    More information about this blog.
  • My profile

Previous posts



ATOM 0.3