The Witzard Presents: Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique 30th Anniversary All-around Breakdown, Part II (PB30 "Side B")
"attempted or done before. (The vinyl edition will have extra-copious multi-panel artwork in its first print only. Hey collectors!)
"Yea, but who cares what it looks like. What about the tunes??!!"
Not only is Paul's Boutique harder than their hysterical historical multi-platinum Licensed to Ill outing, but it's "deeper." The record is a never ending flow of freaky, left-field samples (everyone from the Beatles to Mountain to a bunch of obscure '70s funk that one's ever thought about biting) that sucks you in and then spits you out, leaving you punch-drunk and frenzied. The Dust Brothers (Matt Dike, John King, and Mike Simpson) have outdone themselves on the production front, and have given the record an earthy home grown aura.
And the Boys themselves are in tip-top form. Check this: "I got more rhymes than J.D.'s got Salinger" (from "Shadrach"). Taking you, the listener, on a psychedelic mind-trip, the Beasties declare, "I got an open mind so why don't you all get inside" (from the first single, "Hey Ladies").
Paul's Boutique -- with its low down beats and combustible lyrics, this record is pure rope. Mike D raps "if the press has their way then they're going to finish me" (from "Mike on the Mic").
Let's see 'em try..."
- 1989 Capitol Records, Inc. (@CutChemist)
09. "5-Piece Chicken Dinner" By: Sahan Jayasuriya (Cold Lunch, safari al)
"Whereas Licensed to Ill was a joke that got taken seriously by the very audience that it was mocking, there are moments of Paul's Boutique that feel like an inside joke between Adam, Adam & Mike. They make the album feel like a tape made for a friend, punching in an ironic stylistic departure or just a complete non-sequitur. "5-Piece Chicken Dinner" feels like the latter; a total left turn that needs no explanation. It comes and goes so quickly that you just laugh about how goofy it is, before you move onto the next scene, which is something else completely."
10. "Looking Down The Barrel of A Gun" By: Danny Cheap Date (Don't Panic Records & Distro, The Cheap Dates)
"This is a ripper of a track that may or may not have spun off an entire sub-genre. I always thought of it as a look back at Licensed to Ill and a look ahead at things to come. Being one of the only guitar-heavy songs on Paul's Boutique, it definitely feels like more of an extension of Licensed to Ill compared to the rest of the tracks on this album. The drum intro is even reminiscent to that of "Rhymin' & Stealin.'" Looking forward, the song precedes the Rap-Metal craze of the 90's and if not spurred it, it certainly inspired it, with even the likes of Anthrax covering ["LDTBOAG"] in 1993.
The Dust Brothers built this track out with looped drum beats from "Bongo Rock" by Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band and "Put Your Hand In The Hand" by Ocean, a piano chord from "Time" by Pink Floyd, and just a single note from the lead guitar in Mountain's "Mississippi Queen." The guitar and bass parts are original compositions from the band; a move that foreshadows The Beasties picking up their instruments back up to cut their follow-up album, Check Your Head.
Lyrically, the song has all three Beasties rapping from the same violent perspective. They're on a vicious rampage drawing inspiration from A Clockwork Orange, Rambo, Die Hard, and famed NYC serial killer, Son of Sam. Is it a diss on 3rd Bass or is it all just a fantasy? Either way, it's gonna get ya..."
11. "Car Thief" By: Emceein' Eye (Speak N' Eye)
"'Some static started in the pool hall, hit a motherf**ker's face, with the cue ball..." Ahh... the line that opens quite possibly the harshest of hedonistic rompings off of the ever-classic, Paul's Boutique. As if that didn't sound bada$$ enough, "Car Thief" just keeps on delivering. They're doing coke off of Bowie knives, taking tranquilizers, having beautiful experiences on ecstasy, observing people doing Angel Dust, and even buying weed from the cop down the street. Ironically, claiming just lines earlier that they "don't buy cheeba," they "grow it." That kind of absurdity and fun is exactly what makes this one, not only the wildest tracks from this masterpiece, but one of my all-time favorite Beastie Boys tracks. The impact this song has had on my life and music is difficult, if not impossible, to describe. The kind of playful irony about the cheeba lines are a great example to me, that it doesn't always matter what rappers are saying, but HOW they say it.
Before I started [heavily] studying PB in my early 20's, when I was just starting to make Rap music myself, I would always worry about saying the same words, or any type of repetition and always tried to take things way too seriously and make myself sound smart, when I wasn't. After this, I started to see how fun Hip-Hop could be. Up until it came time for me to sit down and write this bit for [The Witzard], I was having a hard time thinking about what to say and it dawned on me that my group had re-appropriated the infamous Ricky Powell line/shout-out for one of our songs (it's not unheard of for even MY favorite rappers and friends to forget their own songs or rhymes they wrote!) We flipped it and shout-out our pal by saying, "homeboy your bones a fraction, your girl got d*cked by Eze Jackson." I guess, if I had to say anything about this song and what I have always taken from it, is that it's a good example of how funny and ridiculous Rap can be, however, [braggadocious]."
12. "What Comes Around" By: KID ACNE (Beck's Music Inspired Art, MONGRELS, Stabby Women)
"There are so many amazing tracks on this album, but I'm going to pick "What Comes Around" purely for the fact they say, "Doris The Finkasaurus" at the end. My introduction to Beastie Boys came via CHECK YOUR HEAD at the age of 13 and right away, I was hooked. By the time ILL COMMUNICATION dropped, I was officially a Beasties fan and from there, I went back to discover LICENSED TO ILL [and] PAUL'S BOUTIQUE along with SOME OLD BULLSH*T, as well as affiliated projects, such as Money Mark's solo material & Milk's NEVER DATED EP (featuring [The King] Ad Rock on guest vocals & Mike D on drums.)
Listening to Paul’s Boutique for the first time, in the mid-90's amongst the (then) Boom-Bap & Trip-Hop era, really captured my imagination. So innovative, so intricate and so much fun; this record demonstrates how far the perimeters of Hip-Hip (and sample-based music, in general) can be pushed without ever sounding forced, contrived, or self-indulgent. To me, the inclusivity of their sound is and lyrics is what continues to make it a refreshing listen and an absolute classic that's stood the test of time."
13. "Shadrach" By: Jeremy Shatan (Paul's Boutique Photographer, AnEarful, The Young Aborigines)
"I heard the sound of Paul's Boutique before the words and knew right away it was an album for US. It was April 1989 and we were in the back seat of a car packed with equipment and people, racing between Ludlow & Rivington and 101 Park Ave., the two locations selected for the cover shoot for The Beastie Boys' second album. The fact that I had agreed to take the photo was a reflection of my deep bond with Mike D, as I was not a fan of Licensed to Ill, even if I was thrilled at my friend's success. Someone slid a cassette into the dash and I heard a dense mix of a lot of the music we loved growing up—Funk, Soul, Classic Rock, Hip-Hop, [and] Reggae. I looked at Mike and said, "now, THIS is something I can get behind."
Fast-forward to the end of July 1989, when I get the finished product—my shot looking glorious in a high-gloss eight-panel fold-out (I said to my wife, "they did this RIGHT!")—put the record on and knew it was a masterpiece. Then, came months of listening, delighting in the rapid-fire Pop culture references, reveling in the samples—they bit The Beatles for God's sake!—and wishing I could identify each of them. One, in particular, was just at the corner of my perception: the main groove of "Shadrach." Whose voice was that—so familiar... was that Rose Stone? But what Sly [& The Family Stone] song was it? And that chorus, Funky as Hell with an insouciant violin and a trumpet that, also, sounded like Cynthia Robinson... and then, the sound of the "Funky Drummer" followed by... Gil Bailey?!? My head was spinning.
About a year later, I got my answer, when Mike gave me a copy of Small Talk, a Sly & The Family Stone album from 1974 that I had never heard. Epic Records, in their infinite wisdom, had let it go out-of-print years before. Flipped it to Side 2, Track 01—"Loose Booty"—and a circle closed. Goddamn, is that a great song! Later, we had one of our hour-long phone calls, where we would minutely dissect music of all kinds. I asked Mike why he thought this late-career masterpiece by Sly had been left out of the canon. "I don't know, Jeremy," he answered and I could picture his rueful grin, "maybe, it was just TOO Funky." Maybe, so. But one thing is for sure, Paul's Boutique turned a lot of people (although, not at first!) onto a lot of music, giving respect where it was due to some amazing artists, while establishing The Boys themselves (and The Dust Brothers) as deserving of joining their ranks. Happy 3-0 to a Boutique that's always in style."
14. "Ask for Janice" By: Jeremy Shatan (Paul's Boutique Photographer, AnEarful, The Young Aborigines)
"Years before Paul's Boutique came out, I used to fall asleep to Gil Bailey on [1190 AM] WLIB, which came through sharp on my AM radio. Bailey gave me an education in Reggae & Dub and I just loved his voice and attitude, not to mention the old-school way he would read the commercials. We all used to listen to him, holding him in high regard as one of the best DJ's on New York radio. Including him here was a tribute to our youth and the city that made us. Of course, we never went to any of the places he mentioned in his ads. The album has always seemed to me like a Paul's Boutique of the mind, where everything was cut to measure and designed to make you feel good."
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" - a. "59 Chrystie Street" By: David "unheard78" Taylor (Build Your Own Boutique: The Paul's Boutique Companion)
"59 Chrystie Street. Home to sweatshops, brothels, enormous rats, and The Beastie Boys in an apartment, where the bathtub sat in the middle of the floor for anyone that felt they needed to rinse off. Essentially, The Beasties' slum-mansion, this is where The Boys did many of their early musical experimentation, after acquiring some much-needed funding, following the British Airways debacle. Sounds like the kind of place you fall in love with when you're young, because when you grow up, you're not staying anywhere with blacktopped floors, giant rats, and a bathtub in the middle of the floor. Did I mention the bathtub? That said, if you haven't read the BEASTIE BOYS BOOK yet, sounds like they had a lot of fun there.
"59 Chrystie Street," the song, is, obviously, a tribute to 59 Chrystie Street, the place, just in case you hadn't guessed. Not much sex talk regarding the apartment bubbles to the surface in the book, so one must assume the lyrics are a first-person account, from three persons no less, of the occasional debauchery that took place there on a good or, at the least, interesting night. I'm sure you get the picture.
While there are a lot of little samples dropped throughout, the groove is really borrowed from the opening of the first part of Burundi Black's self-titled track, from the single of the same name. Burundi Black was, essentially, a project of producer, Mike Steïphenson, and he borrowed the drums and percussion on the track from a recording of Ensemble de Tambours' track, "Ignoma," adding a beat and keyboards to the groove. It's, essentially, a sample of a sample of sample, though a really good one, definitely worthy of repeated use. The same sample was used to create the rhythm of Joni Mitchell's "The Jungle Line," which is, sometimes, listed as the source of the "Chrystie Street" beat, but "Burundi Black" is the true answer.
If you really want to explore that groove, seek out the Musique Du Burundi compilation from 1968. It's truly hypnotic stuff. For the sake of "59 Chrystie Street," though, a little is clearly enough. Drop out the vocals and The Tambours' & Burundi Black will make you shake. It might even be appropriate music for the activities described within "59 Chrystie Street," the song, though, you'll need to make it last longer than 59 seconds."
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" - b. "Get On The Mic" By: clint. (Napalm Def, Dwell & salk.)
"Here's the set-up: summer vacation 1989, Walkman with fresh AA's, John Lucero under my Airwalks, and hard-earned grass-cutting bills in my pocket. I was headed to the local mall. Yup... I was out on the skate piece headed up the road toward Eastpoint to cop the Paul's Boutique tape from Sound Waves.
Honestly, I don't remember my exact thoughts or the Richter notch of my internal stirrings upon first listen. However, I do remember the adhesive note with the phrasing of "Well, you say f**k that, yo, holmes, f**k this." There is conviction in that half of the bar. There is attitude in the tone. And yes, it was blunt and in vernacular I myself use/d. THAT is what stayed rolling around in the gray. All these years later, I still look forward to that slick little minute and 20 seconds.
It's simple and effective: two emcees spitting over a beat-box. Being a Hip-Hop purist that some say is stuck in the culture's past, it makes sense that a burst of a straight elemental banger still hits me to this day. I could dissect the bars. I could analyze and hypothesize those couplets. I could run the Pop culture references that The Beasties spout. But I'm not going to go on that parchment-grabbing, pseudointellectual drivel-ridden path. I'd rather fling this out to y'all: this cut is on-point. R.I.P. MCA (Your voice and cadence carried me through this record time and time again.) BTW: I still have that 30-year-old cassette and I still spin those reels 'round."
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" - c. "Stop That Train" By: Myrrow's Outlet (FKA TT5BR)
"'Stop That Train" learned me to appreciate Southside Movement's "Save The World" drum break. It's on one of the Ultimate Breaks & Beats compilations I was collecting, at that time. I'm not totally sure where I heard it first, Ultimate Breaks & Beats or "Stop That Train," but I recall initially not liking the drum break at all. But as I would listen to "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" in its entirety a lot, I was soon convinced the break is, actually, pretty nice and just the right pick for "Stop That Train" and its alternate version, "Caught In The Middle of A 3-Way Mix." You know Vanilla Ice has a song called "Stop That Train," as well? If you haven't heard it... not only the title will sound familiar."
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" - d. "A Year & A Day" By: DJ Bacon ("RUN-BST" Megamix, Briztronix)
"When Paul's Boutique dropped in '89, 12-year-old me literally ran to the mall to cop it straight away. I was only rocking cassettes back then and sadly, the Australian edition cassette had no inside artwork or lyrics; just a squished up photo of the cover on the front and a blank J-card insert. I was left to try and decipher all the lyrics myself and did so obsessively.
A couple years later, I saw the actual USA edition in the shop and nearly cried, when I saw the whole fold-out cover with the lyrics and underwater pic! "A Year & A Day" was my second favorite song on the album ("Car Thief" won that) so, my heart sunk when I finally worked through the "Fish Map" lyric sheet to that song and realized it was the only song on the album that didn't have the lyrics printed! Why? Who prints all the lyrics and leaves of one song? Go check your copy 'cause I've never seen it on any editions of Paul's Boutique.
This is by far, the fastest tempo track on the album and what I consider Yauch's solo masterpiece. It is an insight into his future self-discovery as the chilled out, peace loving introspective, mature humanist we all love. Musically, The Isley Brothers' fuzzy guitar from "Who's That Lady" provides the backbone and I can see why Yauch chose this track, as it sounds a lot like some of the futuristic bass business he later became well known for. Ad-Rock told Rolling Stone: "I heard that track and it was some heavy sh*t. He rapped his a$$ off. Adam bought a jet pilot's helmet, rigged it with a microphone, and recorded the song wearing that helmet."
It was even harder to work out what MCA was saying because of the helmet mic and the sheer speed he was delivering those raps, but I knew he was on some deep sh*t and I loved it. His delivery and speed on this track is up there with some of those faster Public Enemy jams, when Chuck D is on that serious tip.
The Internet has since revealed the lyrics to this track to me now, which I only discovered a few years back, when making "RUN-BST" and trying to find Run-D.M.C. & Beastie Boys lyrics that rhymed together. So, if like me, you may have missed the lyrics, go check what Adam is https://genius.com/Beastie-boys-a-year-and-a-day-lyrics. So, the puzzle is now solved for me. Rest In Peace, Adam "MCA" Yauch."
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" - e. "Hello Brooklyn" By: Awkward (The Cloaks, Ghost Locust Music)
"When I was 10/11-years-old, I discovered The Beastie Boys. I think, I must of tape recorded "Hold It, Now Hit It" somehow off the radio in 1986. I was already familiar with Hip-Hop the year before in 1985. I knew the Wild Style soundtrack LP, Doug E. Fresh's "The Show" and numerous volumes of the Street Sounds Hip-Hop Electro seminal run of compilations. Bristol's own multi-racial Wild Bunch had, also, been making a bit of noise that I was aware of since '85. Beastie Boys made a lot of sense to me at that time.
The thing about Hip-Hop that stood out for me was the loud drum machines and scratches that sounded like transmissions from Space, Beasties classics, like "Posse In Effect" & "Time To Get Ill" had that Hardcore other-worldly B-Boy blast that I was blown away by, at that time. "Ego Tripping" by Ultramagnetic MC's came along all and the era of the dirty dusty drum break came in to play... new sonic universes exploding all over the Bronx to LA to Bristol. By 1989, The Beastie Boys had fully embraced and innovated in sample-based Hip-Hop production with Paul's Boutique and I was in!
Now, I always wished "Hello Brooklyn" was longer. It was like a reminder of their previous sound utilizing the Hardcore drum machines with echos on the mic, but this time, they added guitar to the distorted 808 bass attack. The Hardcore Hip-Hop levels of excitement on this track are in the red. The back-to-back rhyme flows are begging for more verses, it's almost as if they knew how dope the track was (buried near the end of "B-Boy Bouillabaisse") only to last 1-minute and 33[-seconds]! In fact... it's almost the perfect length looked at another way. Everything in place and communicated to the ear in a timeless snapshot of how to make dope Hip-Hop that I would say still hasn't gone out of style."
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" - f. "Dropping Names" By: Sahan Jayasuriya (Cold Lunch, safari al)
"People tend to talk about Paul's Boutique & [De La Soul's] 3 Feet High & Rising side-by-side, as they should—they were conceived at the same time by New Yorkers taking full advantage of a new technology. The eclectic sample choices on both records are sometimes looked at as being fearless, but honestly, more than that, it was the simple matter as to whether or not the sample worked for them. Remember, this was still the era of taking from obvious sources—classic breaks of the coming years, like "It's A New Day" only saw their initial usage in the same year.
"Dropping Names" illustrates The Beasties' & Dust Brothers' open ears, when it came to sample choices. While The Meters would, eventually, become a sampling staple for Hip-Hop in the 90's, their usage at this time was limited to that of Ultramagnetic MC's and a small handful of others. Needless to say, grabbing something from one of the first three albums would've still been ahead of the curve in '89, so the fact that they decided to take a few bars from [The Meters'] "Hey Pocky A-Way," a track off their fifth album, Rejuvenation, highlights the fact that they were looking beyond the obvious.
Shuffling drums accompanied by Boogie-Woogie piano may not have jumped out as a clear winner for some, but The Beasties & Dust Brothers used it to fine effect. Tongue-twister rhymes of "he thrusts his fists against the post and still insists he sees a ghost" ensue, before the beat switches up to a slice of the unmistakeable "Wells Gone Dry" by The Crusaders. This bassline would see a decent amount use over the next decade, eventually, coming full-circle, via a pair of DJ's, who, also, called themselves The Dust Brothers. This was no coincidence, as the two were heavily influenced by Simpson & King's work. To avoid confusion, they, eventually, settled on a name that wasn't already taken, The Chemical Brothers."
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" - g. "Lay It On Me" By: Myrrow's Outlet (FKA TT5BR)
"When the album dropped I had just borrowed some James Brown & Kool & The Gang records from one of my friends sample from. So, I heard "Lay It On Me" for the first time and recognized the bassline straight away: "Let The Music Take Your Mind" by Kool & The Gang. Comparing the original loop to "Lay It On Me" I quickly noticed that they didn't add any other elements, no extra-layer of drums or any other type of samples, not even the, around that time, mandatory 808 bass drum drop "on the one." Them rhymin' over just the loop (slowed down and collapsed to Mono) as found on the record, during the sample-crazy era, wasn't a very common thing to do. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" has a couple of these one layer tracks."
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" - h. "Mike On The Mic" By: Jim Mahfood AKA FOODONE (Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, GRRL SCOUTS, Tank Girl)
"'MIKE ON THE MIC:" MIKE D'S ANSWER TO "GET ON THE MIC," RAPPED OVER THE SAME LOVEBUG STARSKI BEAT. REFERENCES TO RED LOBSTER, ACTOR RAYMOND BURR, AND GREENWICH VILLAGE CAN BE HEARD. MIKE D REFERS TO HIMSELF AS "SPINICH D" FOR EATING POPEYE'S FAVORITE FOOD. THE CLOSING QUOTE WAS RECORDED BY NEW YORK WEATHERMAN LLOYD LINDSEY SPECIFICALLY FOR THE ALBUM.
"I MET THIS GIRL LAST NIGHT"
WITH A PECULIAR CACKLE
I LAID THE BAIT
AND SHE TOOK THE TACKLE
HAD TOO MUCH TO DRINK
AT THE RED LOBSTER
NOW THE ROOM IS
LIKE THE BLADES
IT'S A TRIP,
IT'S GOT A
AND I CAN BUG OUT
TO IT!" [Transcribed from ASK FOR JANICE.]
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" - i. "A.W.O.L." By: David "unheard78" Taylor (Build Your Own Boutique: The Paul's Boutique Companion)
"'Away Without Leave." "Away Without Official Leave." "Always Wanting Other Lovers?" Uh... There might be other explanations of the acronym, but I think The Beasties are trying to say they never really left us. Which is true, of course. There were hiatuses, but The Boys always get back together, one way or another. Musically, there isn't much to say about "A.W.O.L." I've seen it mentioned that the audience was recorded during the Licensed to Ill Tour, though, it's more likely just a canned recording of a crowd, real or fake, or possibly from a live record in one of the many collections plundered to build Paul's Boutique. One thing that is very clear, though, the beat is a monster, absolutely Godzilla-sized! Perfectly created with the specific purpose of rocking crowds, especially, those in stadiums. It's been very well-documented fact that truly, nothing sounds quite like an 808."
* CLICK HERE TO READ PART I (SIDE A) OF #PB30! *
** CLICK HERE TO READ PART III (B-SIDES) OF #PB30!!! **