Paul's critique of Paul's Boutique - 20th Anniversary of Beastie Boys' classic!

Posted: 5th February 2009

The second album syndrome - Jeez it's tough. The Beastie Boys know only too well. After the massive Def Jam debut, "Licensed To Ill" embedded them in classes of students the world over with it's anthemic "Fight For Your Right" and "No Sleep Til Brooklyn", the trio embarked on a sample-laden excursion into the world of "Paul's Boutique". It got panned. Let's be quite clear - the critical kicking was NOT deserved because here MCA, Mike D and King Ad-Rock blended an Argos catalogue's worth of classic soul and funk samples with bang-on word-play and fun,fun,fun and killer beats. EMI didn't know what the hell it was and didn't know what to do with it.

Fittingly there is a 20th anniversary reissue on the way - you have to buy it. Several formats will be made available including a digital download version and a vinyl 180gm issue as well as a standard, bonus - filled CD release. Of course, the physical releases will come wrapped in one of the most iconic sleeves in hip-hop history showing the clothes stall that spawned a thousand market businesses over here - well, possibly....

"Shake Your Rump", "Hey Ladies", "High Plains Drifter" (with it's evil Eagles sample), "Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun" and "Shadrach" quite simply paved the way for other similar artists (De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest and pretty much half of the Rawkus roster) to drop their pants and wiggle it - the serious side of rap was down to Public Enemy, the funky fresh side was B-Boys territory. Somehow Hip-Hop needs a bit of fun again because it's all gone a bit bling and po-faced with very few wordsmiths showing a smile these days. Strutting, crotch grabbing, bitches, clip-popping,'s tiresome...check out the pump of the last 6 tracks on this re-issue and you can see how today's stroppy strut makes no sense. Here was a band having fun. You can too. Check out the re-issue of one of the under-rated party classics of the late 80's....and shake your rump-a!!

Paul Pledger