Top 10 Beastie Boys Songs
Beastie Boys songs brought hip-hop to the mainstream, with its innovative sound. Now, more than 25 years later, the hip-hop community is mourning the loss of Adam “MCA” Yauch — one of the Beastie Boys' founding members. The 47-year-old rapper-musician died on May 4 after a long bout with cancer.
This is hardly a definitive list, but each song features the trio's finest rap performances. So reminiscence with us and enjoy PopCrush's Top 10 Beastie Boys Songs. R.I.P. MCA, you will be sorely missed.
‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’
From their classic 1986 debut rap album 'Licensed to Ill,' the song mimics 'No Sleep 'til Hammersmith,' which is the title of Motörhead's 1981 live album. The roaring guitar riffs were provided by guitarist Kerry King of Slayer. The boys sophomoric rhymes of drugs, drinking and girls were quite controversial when this Beastie Boys song was released. Debauchery never sounded this good.
From the sounds of this track, you would think it came from a blaxploitation film, but it came from Beasties' 1989 landmark album 'Paul's Boutique.' Produced by the Dust Brothers, the song, as well as the album, established the New York trio as true purveyors of hip-hop and not just gimmicky rappers.
‘Pass the Mic’
From Beasties' third album 'Check Your Head,' this interesting song is a mixture of psychedelic, rock and hip-hop all rolled into one. MCA's verses stand out on this rollicking track. “My name is MCA / I've been coming to where I am from the get go / Find that I can groove with the beat when I let go / So put your worries on hold / Get up and groove with the rhythm in your soul,” he raps.
The guitar-charged anthem 'Sabotage' is a three-minute head-banger that will induce instant moshing at any rock show. The group's accompanying video was a mainstay on MTV. The clip, which was directed by Spike Jonze, was a parody of '70s cop shows like 'Starsky & Hutch' and 'Hawaii 5-0.'
‘Make Some Noise’
The Beastie Boys sure made some noise with this banging track from their eighth effort 'Hot Sauce Committee, Part 2.' In 2011, Yauch wrote and directed a short film titled 'Fight for Your Right Revisited,' which featured Mike D, Ad-Rock and MCA (played by Seth Rogen, Elijah Wood and Danny McBride, respectively), battle dance against the future Mike D, Ad-Rock and MCA (John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell and Jack Black, respectively).
‘Open Letter to NYC’
This 2005 Beastie Boys song is the trio's tribute to their beloved hometown of New York City and its five boroughs. The trio wanted to offer the Big Apple an uplifting anthem after it suffered a historic tragedy on September 11, 2001. “Since 9/11 we're still livin' / And lovin' life we've been given / Ain't nothin' gonna take that away from us / Were lookin' pretty and gritty 'cause in the city we trust,” rhymes Ad-Rock.
‘Get It Together’
Beastie Boys rarely do collaborations, but when they do it's always a fun listen. The Beasties team up with a Native Tongue on this fun track from their 1994 album 'Ill Communication.' Q-Tip (aka the Abstract) and the guys spit back-and-forth rhymes that at times makes no sense. This is b-boy rapping at its best.
This far-out robotic jam scored Beastie Boys their first Grammy win in 1999 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Just as far out as the song was their innovative video; it featured a giant robot battling an octopus, while the trio kick rhymes in bright street-construction outfits on the streets of Japan.
‘So What’cha Want’
On 'Check Your Head,' the Beastie Boys returned to their early punk roots and played their own instruments on the collection. 'So What'cha Want' featured Ad-Rock on guitar, Mike D on drums, MCA on bass and Mark Ramos-Nishita (aka Money Mark) on keyboards. Together, they created an infectious mish-mash of rap and rock and, arguably, one of their best pop songs.
‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)’
'Fight for Your Right' is undoubtedly the ultimate frat boy jam and the Beasties' most popular song ever. A house party wasn't a real house party without the DJ spinning this song ad-nauseam. The anthemic Beastie Boys song reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and turned three goofy white boys from New York into rap stars.