"the Pet Sounds/The Dark Side of the Moon of hip hop"
February 3, 2009 3:51 AM   Subscribe

Paul's Boutique, Remastered for Your Pleasure (20th Anniversary)
posted by chuckdarwin (59 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
most underrated album ever.
posted by hypersloth at 4:11 AM on February 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


and this.
posted by hypersloth at 4:16 AM on February 3, 2009


I don't get Paul's Boutique.
posted by Eideteker at 4:25 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


My crappy MacBook speakers don't seem to be optimal for feeling the new extra intense bassline on Shake Your Rump. While I'm complaining, I can't seem to beat MCA at 8-bit ping pong either.
posted by roofus at 4:26 AM on February 3, 2009


20 years ago?

Fuck I feel old. I didn't hear it until a few years later in the early 90s but it was still a 'new' album. Still it's good to hear it again. Ah, the days when you had to save up for an album, the excitement about going to the record shop then spending ages deliberating which one to buy from the shortlist of potential purchases (more often than not some shite that was flavour of the week in the NME). Then making yourself listen to it even if it sounded pish because it was the only album you were buying that week or month or whatever.

It's great to hear the Sound of Science the way it segues into the Beatles. A nice wee site too. Seems in keeping with the album.

Also, why does it need to be the '[insert critically acclaimed though not necessarily much cop album here] of [not mainstream rock genre]'. It can stand on it's on without the kind of lazy comparisons that pepper the reviews of Q and Mojo and make them such unbearably smug and rubbish reads.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 4:26 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


20 years? I guess that I'll probably have to get around to listening to it one of these days.
posted by octothorpe at 4:40 AM on February 3, 2009


I wasn't a fan of the Beastie Boys until I heard this fantastic album. I first heard it in 1993, which seems like yesterday, but that was one wedding, three kids, five houses and two dogs ago.

I'll be over here in the corner feeling old if anyone needs me.
posted by SteveTheRed at 4:43 AM on February 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't really "get" this album when I first heard it (granted, I was 9). My cousin, who was, and is, big into the hip-hop scene, brought me a copy on an unlabeled cassette tape. I listened a few times on my little monaural tape deck with 3-inch speaker and wondered what the hell to make of it. It wasn't Run DMC, that's for sure. I lost the tape not long after, and all I've heard of it since is "Hey Ladies" and "Shadrack" on the Beasties' best of.

Turns out it's pretty great. I'll probably pick this up if the remaster compares favorably with the original.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:51 AM on February 3, 2009


There are a handful of artists that "Do Hip Hop Properly" in my book, and these guys have always seemed to be near the top of that small heap.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:03 AM on February 3, 2009


I remember having this cassette when I was late jr. high, and my friends razzing me for it saying it sucked. It wasn't as "cool" as "License to Ill". Definitely a departure from the frat rock of their first albums. I was victim to their criticism and ignored myself for years, then in the 90s when the BB started getting serious legitimacy, I checked it out again. Great stuff.
posted by zardoz at 5:04 AM on February 3, 2009


Is there something I'm missing, or is this just a terrible post? One link to a blog that only seems tangentially related to the album, and another to a forum post announcing an anniversary re-release of the album?
posted by jimmy at 5:08 AM on February 3, 2009


aw man. '89. this was the soundtrack of that summer. every house i partied at, every car that drove past... this album was playing.

one of the great delights of playing it on a turntable, was seeing who was sober enough (or not sober, but skilled even though intoxicated) to get over to the record, pop the stylus arm up while flipping the disc in one smooth motion, then setting the needle back in the groove - - so the break between the lead out track on one side and the lead-in on the flipside was barely noticeable. you could keep going all night like that.

cds and mp3s just don't have that physical connection.
you youngsters just wouldn't understand. and get the fuck off my lawn.
twenty years?? god god.
thanks chuckdarwin. that beastie beta site is cool.
posted by lapolla at 5:12 AM on February 3, 2009


The neighborhood has changed a bit.
posted by chillmost at 5:13 AM on February 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Where's the askforjanice tag when you need it?
posted by Spatch at 6:02 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


oh god, it's really been 20 years? Seems like it was the other day I was running out to the music shop to get this cassette!

"It's got a funky beat and I can bug out to it!"
posted by Hands of Manos at 6:24 AM on February 3, 2009


Neat - o !
posted by KokuRyu at 6:31 AM on February 3, 2009


cassette here too..
I meant to say thanks to the poster earlier; wouldn't have known about the anniversary otherwise.
<> falling down on my face <>
posted by hypersloth at 6:33 AM on February 3, 2009


It's interesting how many of my friends back-in-the-day completely skipped this album as they graduated from Licensed to Ill to "real" rap like Eric B, KRS-1, Tribe, Blacksheep, etc.

It wasn't until the early 90's in college that I'd hear cuts from this album and wonder who it was. I remember buying it and being blown away that it was the same group of guys who had a 20 ft inflatable penis on stage with them when they opened for Madonna in the mid-80's.

Kind of like finding out the guy who used to write all those letters to Penthouse forum turned out to be the same guy who wrote Old Man and the Sea. Or something.
posted by photoslob at 6:44 AM on February 3, 2009


Is there something I'm missing, or is this just a terrible post? One link to a blog that only seems tangentially related to the album, and another to a forum post announcing an anniversary re-release of the album?

Erm, you can play the album in it's entirety (with decent sound for a stream), embedded videos from the album, links to blogs, user-uploads and a wee turntable for scratching nonsense, with a nice interface AND it is a site that is consistent with the album itself then, yeah, you could say you are missing something.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 7:10 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Erm, you can play the album in it's entirety (with decent sound for a stream), embedded videos from the album, links to blogs, user-uploads and a wee turntable for scratching nonsense, with a nice interface AND it is a site that is consistent with the album itself then, yeah, you could say you are missing something.

I definitely am, in that case, considering all I see is a blog full of personal testimonials. Must be a problem with Firefox. Apologies.
posted by jimmy at 7:19 AM on February 3, 2009


From a design perspective, I love the faux-volume-control that adds more features to the site.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:28 AM on February 3, 2009


Hey Jimmy, don't feel bad it didn't work for me at first too. I turned up the knob and nothing happened. In the glorious normal way of things, I reloaded the page a few times, and then when I turned it up all kinds of cool stuff appeared.

My favorite BB story is going to one of those megaconcerts I never go to. All the other groups I thought would be great were lame - Tribe Called Quest just kinda lip synced to their album on a bad sound system; one of those post punk pop bands just tried to make us all feel like sellouts for paying to come to such a commercial show and whined about how it wasn't "them" whatever the fuck that means you foppish little cenotaph to underground music; even George Clinton didn't really get much going on.

And then the Boys came out.

They took a look around, kinda shrugged, laughed at the silliness of the whole thing - and proceeded to drop the fucking hammer with one of of the best live sets I've ever seen. Spinning, playing their instruments, joking around - completely transcending the tawdry and crass banality to fly their blinking sparking rocket up into the cirrus clouds of awesome and the low earth orbit of timeless creativity and fun that has been their domain since the earliest days of the NY Thrash compilation with them and Bad Brains. Despite the commercial surroundings and jokiness, they made great art, and I think that describes most of their career.

Although, sorry, that anti-war song was ASS.
posted by freebird at 9:31 AM on February 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


Its worth putting a link to the Dust Brothers' insane site here (warning: loud music and seizure-inducing visuals at startup). While the Beasties get deserved credit for completely changing up their style after the execrable Licensed to Ill, these guys were the musical geniuses behind Paul's Boutique.
posted by googly at 9:32 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Crap I feel old. I bought Paul's Boutique the day it came out (on a snazzy retro red Capitol cassette). Instantly was hooked. B-Boy Bouillabaisse is the best Beasties cut ever.

Mike on the mic, don't be so selfish
Get on the mic because you eat shellfish

posted by porn in the woods at 9:36 AM on February 3, 2009


I was not a fan of "License to Ill" but as soon as I heard "Hey Ladies" on the radio I thought I was hearing a whole new different band and bought this the next day. I still play it.
posted by zzazazz at 9:49 AM on February 3, 2009


Yeah, I was one of the many who skipped this album, and didn't get back into the Beastie Boys until Check Your Head came out when I was in high school.

This is probably my favorite cut
.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:51 AM on February 3, 2009


proceeded to drop the fucking hammer with one of of the best live sets I've ever seen

I saw them in Worcester a few years ago, and it was amazing. It's a shame, the place was pretty much empty, but the show was incredible. Talib Kweli opened, but the warmup act for him was--I am not kidding--dogs doing tricks. They were actually pretty good.

The Beasties set, though, was mammoth, even though they were playing to a half-empty arena. The floor was so sparse that you could just walk right up to the stage and practically touch them. The stage rotated, and they hit their instrumentals, and their hardcore, and everything in between. Definitely one of the best live shows I've seen. They love to perform, and it shows.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:56 AM on February 3, 2009


this is the album that introduced me to hip hop. its musical importance (both for me, and for the world at large) is literally immeasurable. Not only had nothing like it ever been made before in the history of music, but nothing like it could ever legally be made again in this country without prohibitive licensing costs. It is wholly unique.
posted by shmegegge at 9:57 AM on February 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


There are some fun songs on it. But the most interesting aspect of the record to me is that it literally could not be made today - at least not legally. The licensing fees for all the samples would eat you alive.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:58 AM on February 3, 2009


I should've previewed. He's the Shmeg Man.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:59 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I looked up and saw shmeg dripping from the ceiling.
posted by shmegegge at 10:02 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Without doubt one of the finest albums I know.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:04 AM on February 3, 2009


most underrated album ever.

You're kidding right? This album gets all sorts of undue praise.
posted by milarepa at 10:20 AM on February 3, 2009 [2 favorites]



I definitely am, in that case, considering all I see is a blog full of personal testimonials. Must be a problem with Firefox. Apologies.


Hey Jimmy,

I realised that it sounded snarky two seconds as I posted but didn't get a chance to post back after the site went down. Apologies.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 10:23 AM on February 3, 2009


"the Pet Sounds/The Dark Side of the Moon of hip hop"

I don't even know where to begin. This is just so very, very wrong.
posted by milarepa at 10:28 AM on February 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Definitely one of the best hip hop records of all time and one of the most groundbreaking and experimental of any genre. It's hard to convince anyone who didn't hear it when it first came out ( and anyone under 30) because it all sound fairly cliche now. So I won't even try. But back when the Beastie Boys were actually cutting edge and insane, this was some serious shit. Nobody had made a rap album like this. It was meant to be their Sgt Pepper's and it succeeded. It still holds up. I was 16 when i came out, I'd been eagerly awaiting it, and I was pretty confused by it at the time but I liked it. They came with this 70s retro thing in 1989 . They unapologetically praised weed during the 80s "just say no" dark ages before most other rap groups had gotten around to it. The whole thing was far ahead of it's time.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:40 AM on February 3, 2009


I discovered this album while in high school in the mid 90's. I loved it, and was sure that made me badass. Still love it, positive I'm not badass.
posted by ahdeeda at 10:41 AM on February 3, 2009


This fellow has collected all the songs sampled on Paul's Boutique (and other Beastie Boy albums), available for download in one convenient, half-gigabyte, Megaupload file.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:42 AM on February 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


My older brother got this for me for Christmas when I was, like, 12 or 14, and I didn't get it at all. I mean, I knew it was important - I'd never heard of it, but c'mon listen to that shit - but especially at that point in my life any "important" music that came out before I was paying attention was intimidating and positively homework-like. I wanted to like it, but I was also kind of scared of it.

Listening to it now? God-damn that's some good stuff. I don't have my old copy anymore (long somewhat maudlin story) but I just may need to pick up another one today.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:48 AM on February 3, 2009


This is in my little brother's top five. I saw him in a different light after he hipped me up it. It's not a really great album, it's just a cool one. The first half of the 90's had so much happening, it was hard to keep up sometimes. I was set to ride the gangster rap wave all the way to New Orleans. The Beastie Boys (and Outkast) brought me back to the creative side of hip hop, and also opened me up to grunge, alternative, jungle, proto punk and back to my first love: jazz.(Smiling) My little bro!
posted by Flex1970 at 11:02 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Customs jailed me over an herb seed / Don't rat out your boy over some rat weed
posted by porn in the woods at 11:49 AM on February 3, 2009


As the Quaker at "The Quaker goes Deaf" used to say, "It's a good album!"
posted by chillmost at 1:23 PM on February 3, 2009


Its worth putting a link to the Dust Brothers' [...] these guys were the musical geniuses behind Paul's Boutique.

They are also the musical geniuses behind Mmmbop.

I understand why PB gets all the attention it does (ooh! samply!), but I much prefer the Beasties' subsequent two albums, Ill Communication especially.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:24 PM on February 3, 2009


milarepa: You're kidding right? This album gets all sorts of undue praise.

I don't hear it much. Every time I meet somebody who's really into the Beastie Boys, I have to spend huge amounts of time trying to convince them that this record is any good at all-- maybe it's just the people I meet.

Seriously, like everybody says, just listen to the beats first, since that's what matters: they're fantastic. They're incredible. They're astounding. DJs are still going through boot camp on this album -- Paul's Boutique is sampled at least half a dozen times on the magnificent Kid Koala's first mixtape, ScratchCratchRatch. Hell, just go over to that first link, hit the +, and cue up "Car Thief." Hear that intro on the turntables, the brilliant, funky cut-up of a squealing car tire? It's an inherent part of the track, and it keeps coming back, but there's so much more - there're about three R & B tracks running through the background, there's an incredible, droning bassline under the intro/chorus every time it comes back. There are one-off samples, there are backup singers that jump in for a single line, there are at least five different drum-beat samples that come and go, there's a crazy-high note somebody hits just at the right moment - this is incredible DJing. It just is. And the song doesn't just end - two basslines, a guitar line, and a bunch of backup singers keep on rocking with each other until you're into the next song.

And that's just one song. A really good DJ would've come up with that cool squealing-tire intro and said "awesome!" and then proceeded to put a beat under it, throw on some samples, then call it good. Everybody did that then - really, go back to the best-DJed albums of the day, and that's what you'll find: a central sample, maybe at best a bunch of funky stuff, all over a tracked drum machine or maybe a single drum track. It's hard to find a drum machine anywhere on this record - it's all samples. (Well, okay, there's the beginning of Shadrach, but that doesn't last long, and I'm not even sure that isn't sampled.) Nobody was going that far then, and nobody really has since - it created a whole world that people are still exploring.

And the rhymes - well, they're great, too. They're not deep, introspective Illmatic-era Nas-type stuff, but hip hop doesn't have to be. They're fun. They're exciting. They're witty, a lot of the time, and when they're stupid, they know it; they're just having fun. They don't give a fuck, which was always the fun thing about the Beastie Boys.

Hip hop is easy to misunderstand. It's easy now to think of hip hop as a black thing, or a gangster thing, or a money thing, or a fame thing, or a machismo thing. It's not. It's fun, it's expressive, it's creative, it's bold, and it's bigger than anybody's preconceptions. Listening to License To Ill, it was all too easy for people who love hip hop to see the Beastie Boys as attempting to drag it down into something it wasn't supposed to be; but Paul's Boutique is such a labor of love that I think that no matter what else they wanted and no matter what else anybody thought, the Beastie Boys love hip hop for what it is.
posted by koeselitz at 4:00 PM on February 3, 2009 [11 favorites]


Paul's is my desert island, you can only take one album, album. What happened after Ill Communication? Their (relatively) newer albums have just not done anything for me. I guess I'm just old.
posted by drmarcj at 5:25 PM on February 3, 2009


Seconding koeselitz and everyone else. Had to listen to this whole album again just now.

And you know, one thing else: The Beasties' trade-off style of rap. The back and forth, MCA says one word ("way"), Mike says the second ("too"), AdRock says the third ("much"), they all trade off the rest ("you know wine and women and song and such") ----- man, they just don't do that anymore. Even the Beasties don't do that anymore. Really gotta wonder, why not?
posted by fungible at 6:47 PM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I pretty much said my piece in that Mecha thread that Eide linked to, but, yeah, Paul's Boutique is one of the tripartite peaks of the Golden Age of sampling (the others are Three Feet High and Rising and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back).
posted by box at 7:47 PM on February 3, 2009


It's really worth reading the 33 & 1/3rd book about how the album was put together - the story of the Dust Brothers is really interesting.
posted by awfurby at 7:50 PM on February 3, 2009


box: Three Feet High and Rising

That disc is so good. Just so fucking good. We're all sitting out here still talking about how awesome Prince Paul is, and he keeps giving us good reasons, but the truth is he had us at that one album: it's perfect.

I mean, it makes me so happy. "How many feathers on a Perdue Chicken?" Never stops being funny.
posted by koeselitz at 8:11 PM on February 3, 2009


"And you know, one thing else: The Beasties' trade-off style of rap."

I'm pretty sure that's Run DMC's style.
posted by Eideteker at 8:42 PM on February 3, 2009


I'd heard License to Ill before because I was a teenager in the '90s, so I knew the Beasties were a sure shot. When I found Paul's Boutique on my uncle's CD rack, the new style on it blew my mind. Gotta admit, though, that as much as Ill Communication and Check Your Head do it for me, the slow ride that is Hello Nasty got my body movin' each time I'd put on that flowin' prose. The update of Paul's Boutique should lighten up my next few weeks.
posted by cthuljew at 9:31 PM on February 3, 2009


Just dropping in to say that the post will seem thin if you don't turn up the volume knob on that first link. Seriously cool web design.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:10 AM on February 4, 2009


De la Soul - 3ft High and Rising
De la Soul - de La Soul is Dead
Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique.

I've always felt these 3 albums were the Height of eclectic sample based Hip-Hop.

with Pauls Boutique the No. 1.
posted by mary8nne at 3:41 AM on February 4, 2009


What happened after Ill Communication? Their (relatively) newer albums have just not done anything for me. I guess I'm just old.

Nah, it's not you. Much of the output after IC is average at best. Check your head, Paul's Boutique and Ill Communication - all the way.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 3:42 AM on February 4, 2009


I've always felt these 3 albums were the Height of eclectic sample based Hip-Hop.

Low End Theory??? Fewer samples, same vibe!
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 3:43 AM on February 4, 2009


"And you know, one thing else: The Beasties' trade-off style of rap."

I'm pretty sure that's Run DMC's style.


Yeah, and Run-DMC even ghostwrote some of the songs on Licensed to Ill. The Treacherous Three, among other early rappers, were also big fans of that style.
posted by box at 8:04 AM on February 4, 2009


Thanks for all y'all that recommended 3 Feet High and Rising. It's stellar.
posted by cthuljew at 9:06 AM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


This album, blew my mind when I was 16. I was never the same again. Well, until I was 25 or so...
posted by gabecal at 11:32 PM on February 4, 2009


At that time, it really looked like rap music was going to go somewhere exciting - this album, Check Your Head, Public Enemy was still a dynamic force, Three Feet High and Rising had just come out. I evangelized all my friends. Boy, was I disappointed. :-(
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:16 AM on February 14, 2009


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