Beastie Boys – To The 5 Boroughs

Beastie Boys
Artist: Beastie Boys
Title: To The 5 Boroughs
Label: Capitol
Rating: 4/10

“Your rhyme technique it is antique” shouts MCA and the irony is enough to literally make you laugh out loud. The Beastie Boys have had these wonderful box seats looking down upon the music scene. How did they get these seats? One great record –okay maybe, maybe two good records? If the Beasties are great what does that make LL Cool J. or Public Enemy? God? Give me a break. The Beastie Boys are the most overrated hip-hop artists. Period. Eminem has already by passed the Beasties in just a few short years. Let’s admit it. The Beasties opened the door, but Eminem has since blown it off the hinges. Dozens of blues artists opened the door for Elvis and we don’t even know their names. Right? Elvis was king. How do the Beastie Boys get such stature that they are enshrined in the hip-hop hall of fame after releasing so many mediocre records so far-and-few between? Think of everyone that opened the door for the Beatles—do we talk about those groups? What about the Pixies opening the door for Nirvana. The Pixies are a footnote to Nirvana’s epic. This is exactly what the Beasties should be to Eminem.

I’m by no means an Eminem devote, but it’s obvious. All these white reviewers (me included) need to wake up and realize the truth—the Beasties are little more than one great album. How many hip-hop artists even talk about the Beastie Boys? How many care? Exactly. Did Eminem grow up wanting to be a Beastie Boy? No. He wanted to be in NWA. Get real.

To The 5 Boroughs is dated, weak, and an antique. This record sounds like the Beasties took the worst leftovers from Ill Communications and released them today. The Beasties still find it necessary to recycle their own rhymes to remind us that they made Ill Communications so cut them slack when the rhymes fall apart (“we are still the boys from around the way”). On top of that “Right Right Now Now” tries to wiggle in some politics within their dated rhymes. If you need politics that still resonate then buy any Public Enemy album pre-1995. “It Takes Time To Build” is a joke. Right? It’s an embarrassment. It’s a shame the only song worth two minutes of your time is “Ch-Ch-Check It Out”—the only problem is that its only “Sabotage.” “grab your Backstreet friend and get loud”? Huh? That’s the best MCA has? Has he been hiding in a cave? When is the last time someone talked about the Backstreet Boys? I’m glad they are on top of things.

So many fans are caught up in their lust for artists like the Beasties that they can’t see the forest through the trees. They love the Beasties unconditionally as if they were family. I know you grew up with them but you grew up watching Sesame Street too but do you still watch it? Is this strictly a race thing? I haven’t taken to the streets for a scientific poll, but no one would argue that the Beasties make white-bread music for nerds everywhere. The Beasties are a safe place for all the freaks and geeks who are scared to tackle real hip-hop. Sorry, but nostalgia and PR only does so much. Its obvious white guys everywhere will unite with their hip-hop godfathers the Beastie Boys but while you are doing that you should know the joke is on you.

+ Charlie Craine

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