My 10 favorite Beastie Boys’ songs, and why

Sometimes, I look around at my life and I’m genuinely stupefied that I’m a New Yorker. It takes a lot to get by in this city, after all, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. And it’s perhaps the understatement of a lifetime to say that the music of the Beastie Boys has been the soundtrack to my life. They were the musicians of choice of all the skater boys I hung out with in high school during their Fight For Your Right days. They were my own musicians of choice throughout college, when I saved up my work study dollars to see them perform at various clubs in downtown New York and big summer concert events. Just about every favorite memory of mine from my college days somehow factors back to the B-Boys. My very first major league college crush, Jack, loaned me his cassette tape of Licensed to Ill, which pretty much  multiplied my love for him to infinity. (Jack, if you are out there and are single, I would still totally marry you).

1) Get it Together

I was once at a dormitory party on the NYU campus (which may or may not have been hosted by yours truly) when the RA kicked down the door with the police and busted everyone inside for underage drinking while this song was blasting at top volume. It is my #1 go-to party anthem. This song also includes my favorite Adrock lines. In fact, as student ID’s were being collected for future punishment on that fateful night, people mid-bust kept singing along with the lyrics.  “I freak the funky beat like the shit was in a blender.” This song is pure sampling genius.

F*ck it cuz I know I didn’t make it really rhyme for real, but technically? I’m as hard as steel.

Pure magic. The song is just irresistible.  Phone is ringing, oh my god.

2) So What’cha Want

This song puts me in a psychotic trance. It is my #1 running play list song because it pumps me up like I’m ready to kick someone’s ass. Its antagonistic guitar riff and all of the grunting on repeat also provides me with fond memories of my parents threatening to murder me if I didn’t stop playing it.  This song is an adolescence ANTHEM.

3) Root Down

Man, I can’t break dance, but the video for this song sure did nothing to discourage me from trying. This song has the funkiest-ass bass mix of any song ever produced by white dudes.

4) Country Mike’s Theme

Come on. This is just hilarious.

5) The Negotiation Limerick File

This song is the soundtrack to the movie about brotherhood that I want to someday direct.  You know, like, after I write it and stuff. I keep all five boroughs in stitches!  

6) Netty’s Girl

See #4. I can’t even imagine the circumstances under which this recording was conducted.

7) Boomin’ Granny

You dropped your coupons, and you were lookin’ fine.

8) An Open Letter to NYC

I am not at all ashamed to admit this song makes me tear up when I’m listening to it on my iPod on the subway. We come together on the subway cars, diversity unified, whoever you are. This song really just is the perfect ode to my hometown. New York, you make it happen.

9) Shake Your Rump

The bong hit noise that inspired a lot of giggles in high school.

I got arrested at the Mardi Gras for jumping out of a float! My man MCA’s got a beard like a billy goat!

10) The Sure Shot

Fresh like Doug-E. when I get my specs. 

This song really is the Beastie Boys rapping at the top of their game. It’s got my favorite MCA riffs ever, too – I got the ill communication.

11) Don’t Play No Game that I Can’t Win

OK, I lied, I can’t keep this list limited to ten, it’s just too hard. I am a huge Santigold fan, and this song proves that the Beasties’ musical range was only expanding and getting sharper as their careers progress. This song is just tight.

Published by zoe aarsen

i am an illustrator, a cat herder and an all-around troublemaker residing in los angeles. i write and read stories about scary things.

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