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Beastie Boys Hello Nasty Review

Album. Released 1998.  

BBC Review

A record that is pure New York from head to toes.

Chris Jones 2008

Four albums into their genre-straddling career, Ad-Rock, MCA and Mike D had simultaneously laid to rest the damaging idea that they were sexist clowns (propagated by their debut, Licensed To Ill) and expanded their white b-boy image to include hardcore punk and a multi-ethnic smorgasbord. However their last album, Ill Communication had only extended Check Your Head's raw diversity without really managing the trick of blending the mixture as an organic whole. Hello Nasty was to correct that, and then some...

Hello...was where the Beasties finally showed the world that they could dazzle if the fancy took them. With the genius move of recruiting Mixmaster Mike, the album is stuffed with old skool sparseness, latino grooviness, street noise, retro funk stylings, jaw-dropping turntablism and much, much more. They took head-spinning detours, sometimes several times in one song making the 22-tracks seem like at least double that amount. And while the frat-boy fun is still in attendance, the album has a maturity and coherence that belied their aging. The 'Boys' had grown up. Adam Yauch's vocal on "I Don''t Know" even pushed the band into unknown territories labelled 'sensitive'. Who'd have thought it?

Paradoxically, while game console bleeps ("Dedication") and samples of Flash and Run DMC throw your mind back to the 80s New York that gave birth to the trio, it's a resolutely post modern mix that still sounds utterly futuristic. Even a guest spot from maverick dub giant, Lee Perry can't stop "Dr Lee PhD" being a psychedelic ride all the way from what now sounds like nascent folktronica to a rinsing D 'n' B epiphany (and back again). Throw in Stravinsky, Tito Puente and Iron Butterfly, and you have a record that is pure New York from head to toes.

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