Last weekend, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, one third of the Beastie Boys passed away after battling cancer for a very long time. He was only 47 when he died, which is a massive dick block for the music industry, because Beastie Boys were still one of the consistently good things about the music industry today.
Well, in my opinion of course, I get that some people don’t like Beastie Boys. We live in a democracy etc etc etc etc…
…that and MCA was all about charity, freedom for Tibet, and a budding documentary director. Plus, the guy was one talented individual. Why couldn’t they have taken someone with less value to society…
Oh you pimp-handing goon, you give us too much ammo…
But really, Beastie Boys were the soundtrack of my youth. I started listening to them when I was far too young to fight for my right to party, but I grew up with them, they really influenced my music taste, and because music is such a big deal to me, I also feel like that shaped the person I am today in some small way.
I don’t say stuff like this lightly either, as I’ve never been that down when a famous person has died, but the passing of MCA got to me in a weird way. My favourite band will potentially never release another album. it almost doesn’t bear thinking about.
In some countries this is considered contraband
So I want to take a look back at what I consider to be the Beastie Boy’s crowning achievement, the 1994 masterpiece Ill Communication. It’s by far my most favourite album of all time. Again, I don’t say stuff like that lightly either, but it is.
Ill Communication kicks off with the ultra relaxed and super smooth track Sure Shot, a gliding taster of what the whole album is all about. At a time when hip-hop was starting to get the hots for electronic sounds and moving away from real instruments (with the notable exception of the impeccable A Tribe Called Quest) it’s ace that so much of this album was ‘real’.
In Sure Shot alone you have the cool percussion skills of sometimes-Cypress Hill drummer Eric Bobo, flutes, strings and more. It’s just so well crafted that it borders on the obscene. The rest of the album is the same, with the funky bass hooks of Root Down, a cameo from the astounding Q-Tip, tons of Tibetan chanting and of course, this…
If you want to check out some new music, or even if you haven’t liked Beastie Boys in the past, I’d definitely recommend checking out Ill Communication on iTunes or Spotify. It crams so many genres and ideas into one album that it covers all bases.
Even if you’re not a fan of old school hip hop, you can definitely get your kicks out of Sabotage and the so dirty its contagious hardcore punk of Heart Attack Man.
What really gets me down is that there will never be another Beastie Boys album like it, because MCA was such a huge part of the group. They were all like glue that held together and supported each other on each track. But at least this album exists. Give it a shot here:
Ill Communication over at Spotify (Go on, it’s free )