When Beastie Boys released Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, I can’t remember if the illness of Adam Yauch had been announced or not. But according to Wikipedia, he knew as early as 2009. So it’s safe to assume that the Beastie Boys knew that it was very possible that this would their last album. I have no idea if MCA’s illness was a direct influence or not, but listening to it again, with the hindsight of his death a year later, it certainly sounds like a celebration of life and declaration of the band’s refusal to let this terrible thing slow them down.
The video for opening song and opening single Make Some Noise was a throwback to the Beastie Boys of the 80s. Picking up where the video for Fight For Your Right ended, Make Some Noise was a announcement that almost 30 years on, these middle aged men still had the same energy and to some extent, the same bratty attitude, that made them stand out back in the day. And while that could have looked sad and delusional, Make Some Noise is such a cool, fun, infectious song, that it defies their age.
With its tinny snare drum heavy loop and watery bass line, Nonstop Disco Powerpack is another throwback to a simpler, less production heavy time. The samples are simplistic and sparse, so the attention is 100% on the three MCs. With its vintage, digital bleeps and bloops and cheesy robot vocal effect, Ok keeps the nostalgia flowing in a way that makes ‘nostalgia’ way too dismissive of a description.
With a contribution from Nas, things get a little unexpectedly hard core on Hot Sauce Committee with Too Many Rappers. Which segues perfectly into the apocalyptically blown out bass and distortion of Say It. But it’s a complete 180 when Funky Donkey pops up. It’s as silly as its name, but still kind of cool. Then it’s time for the requisite diversion into hip hopped up punk rock with Lee Majors Come Again. And as always, this guitar based rocker is one of the record’s real stand outs.
I assume the Beastie Boys are above worrying about things like their age and their place in pop culture. They seem too genuine as artists to get too caught up in that kind of shit. But Hot Sauce Committee Part Two certainly would have been a good argument against them being too old or irrelevant three decades into their career. Even now, almost five years after its release, this record is so vibrant, so fresh and so unique. Long after the “Boys” in their name became a misnomer, they still had just as much life in them.