By Joshua Mellin | May 12th, 2011
The Beastie Boys — Mike “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “Ad Rock” Horovitz, and Adam “MCA” Yauch — have made their triumphant return with their eighth studio album, Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2.
Although Yauch is still undergoing cancer treatments and the group is not currently touring, he fully expects to make a complete recovery and actually directed a short companion film to the album, Fight For Your Right Revisited. I’m usually pretty good at breaking down this extracurricular metaphysical stuff, so I’ll give time traveling Beasties a shot.
The film is at times stream of consciousness, at times an inside joke, and continues in the Beastie tradition of cutting-edge conceptual videos. MTV may not play videos anymore, but the bands that birthed them sure are still making great ones.
The film continues where the older “Fight For Your Right” video leaves off, with Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, and Seth Rogen (as Ad-Rock, MCA, and Mike D) awkwardly explaining to the tenants of the apartment they just destroyed their “No pie/no sledgehammer” stance before wrecking havoc: spraying beer, destroying restaurants and getting hit by cars on a timeless New York soundstage. They party with a literal nonstop slew of celebrity guest stars, including the real Beastie Boys themselves.
A drug fueled limo ride later, these faux Beasties meet their future selves in Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, and John C Reilly, who show up in a Delorean with unfathomable beats from the future and a pesky dance mat. An epic breakdance battle ensues that obviously breaks down into a piss fight. The cops break it up and arrest everyone. “To be continued, check back in 25 years.”
The one lingering question: why does Elijah Wood have a British accent? He is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hmm.
Much like the film, on Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 the Beasties manage to encapsulate the energy of their early work while displaying the tricks of crafty veterans. Integrating elements fine tuned on their instrumental album, 2007′s Grammy-winning The Mix-Up, alongside retro beats with a funky sound, these legends of hip hop manage to retain their edge across the span of decades.
While recording their last proper rap LP, 2005′s To The 5 Boroughs, the trio was heavily influenced by the growing military state spreading across New York. Between soldiers on the streets and turmoil in the headlines, the prime Bush years left their mark on the more serious tone of the album. Hot Sauce, recorded in the waning days of the W. administration, is a much looser album that benefits from their newfound optimistic outlook.
“OK” emulates the energy of Daft Punk electronica, while the obligatory Brooklyn anthem features fellow New Yorker Nas on “Too Many Rappers,” and Reggae-inspired Santigold team up “Don’t Play No Games That I Can’t Win” is sure to be the sleeper summer jam.
Throughout the album, Mike D picks up the pace, MCA slows it down steady and strong, and Ad-Rock steers the Beastie ship. Same as it always was.