Friday, May 4, 2012



RIP MCA. It is a little shocking how well Check Your Head holds up after twenty years. I agree that Paul's Boutique is the groundbreaking masterpiece, but CYH was the one that nailed it for me. It was where they transcended the novelty of being a white hip-hop band and in many ways were the channel that allowed the whole of hip-hop to transcend the cultural marginalizations foisted upon it: it's kids' music; it's black music; they don't play instruments, etc.

All those "accusations" stand on parts on Check Your Head, other parts they don't, and by knocking out the supports on both sides of their barrier, the wall crumbled.

I remember woozily weaving across LSU bar the Bayou somewhere in 1992, a new drinker barely standing as "Stand Together", equally green with its locust swarm fuzz blaring on the PA. Nothing special about this moment -  I'm sure many a drunken moment has been soundtracked by the Beastie Boys in the the ensuing decades -  but the floor buzzed with the song, the room slid, my head throbbed. It felt like being a satellite that just caught orbit.

My other favorite Beastie Boys memory is not my own. A friend told me once that at a restaurant he worked at, this one waitress would take a roll of quarters and fill the jukebox with Licensed to Ill for her whole shift, which I think is beautiful. Fight for your rights.

1 comment: