Sound — 9
MCA, Ad-Rock and Mike D are all back in full force for their most recent effort, entitled "Hot Sauce Committee Part Two". If you're wondering where "Part One" went, it's coming out later. You see, they had too many songs for one album, but then MCA got diagnosed with cancer and "Part One" got put on the backburner, so they decided to release "Part Two". Sound confusing? Well it is. You might think that all this confusion caused the album to suffer, but you would be wrong. The Beasties create some of their catchiest and coolest songs ever for "Hot Sauce Committee", and none of their talent has waned since they began 25 long years ago. The drumming is incredibly funky, Mix Master Mike is a downright DJ hero, the basslines are at times smooth and at times blasting, and the guitar, though sometimes inaudible, is quality when it stands out. The opener of "Make Some Noise" leads well into "Nonstop Disco Powerpack", which is my favorite track on the album. There are several short songs on the album, which pace things nicely and those like "The Larry Routine" are pretty funny. "Lee Majors Come Again" reminds us of the band's hardcore punk roots, and "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win" is summer barbecue-certified.
Lyrics — 9
The entire reason to listen to a rap album is the lyrics. And although the B-Boys are now all well into their fourties, their lyrics haven't lost any of the bite they've always had. They're still bragging and self-referential, like nothing has changed since "Licensed To Ill". What has changed, however, is that they all openly (and jokingly) acknowledge their age ("Grampa's been rappin' since '83"). Despite their age, their voices all sound great. In particular, MCA is now sporting more of a low, gruff growl that contrasts with Mike D's nasality and the spunk of Ad-Rock's, but still sounds awesome.
Overall Impression — 9
Though not a comeback album, "Hot Sauce Committee Part Two" occasionally feels like one, in the best possible way. Some of the songs are reminiscent of "Paul's Boutique", some are shadows of "Check Your Head", and the album's fantastic instrumental, "Multilateral Nucl"ear Disarmament", brings us right up to "The Mix-Up". Even if you don't like rap, you still might enjoy this album. I'm not a fan of modern hip hop, but this most certainly isn't a modern hip hop record. The Beastie Boys shoot jabs at modern rap artists in "Too Many Rappers", but they don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk. Forget Lil Wayne and Kanye West, this album is more comparable to the Digital Underground. Like a fine wine, the Beastie Boys are just getting better with age.