Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Beastie Boys - Ill Communication 2xLP


Capitol / Grand Royal (2009, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I have developed a pretty crazy pile of backlogged hip hop albums that I haven't gotten to write about yet.  Some of them are probably over a year old at this point, which is kind of nutty, but I'm gradually making my way through them.  One of the oldest in the pile is Ill Communication something I picked up quite a while ago when the record was popping in and out of print for a bit there. I like the Beastie Boys a lot, but I'm also kind of picky with them regarding what albums I actually like and even them I'm kind of critical on what I consider filler on those albums.  Ill Communication, while not my favorite Beasties album, is probably the best one to listen to straight through without running into tracks that slow things down.

This album originally came out in 1994, which was such a huge year for me music wise.  I was starting to get a little disgruntled with hip hop (see: Warren G & Nate Dogg type nonsense) and getting into Beck had started to open my eyes into the world of indie rock and punk.  Ill Communication was probably one of the last hip hop albums that came out in 94 that really clicked with me.  It has some pretty killer songs on it like "Sure Shot," "Root Down," "Flute Loop" and the untouchable "Get It Together."  You're going to have a hard time finding many albums with four songs that great on it.

It also has "Sabotage."  That's a song that I do not understand at all.  I didn't like it in 1994 and I still don't really like it.  I don't care how cool the video is, it still just sounds like a bunch of yelling to me.  But what do I know, I really dislike the song "Intergalactic" as well and I know plenty of people who swear by that one.

I'll never like this one quite as much as I like Check Your Head and I think a lit of that is time and place.  Check Your Head hit in the middle of my complete and unadulterated fixation with hip hop, but the time Ill Communication came out, I was starting to get ready to move on to other things.  The album truly holds up great and in a lot of ways I like it more now than I did when it first came out, but I think that if it had been released just a year earlier, I probably would have been completely obsessed with it.

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