After Adam “MCA” Yauch revealed via YouTube that he had cancer in 2009, all bets of a Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 1 release were off. Once Yauch went into remission, the Beasties returned to their mazy two-part project and chiseled, nay sledgehammered it, into Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2. The result is a unified assault of fast-and-loud electronics galvanized in funky hip-hop, jingoistic punk, and the inimitable laid-back fury of Beastie Boys vocals on that Kurtis Blow steeze.
Opening track “Make Some Noise” has all the ingredients of vintage Beastie Boys. Robot sounds possessed by Bootsy Collins set the stage for Ad-Rock, Mike D, and MCA to introduce themselves with the same vocal velocity bestowed in Check Your Head opener “Jimmy James”. It’s nothing new in terms of the trio’s traditional alchemy, but that’s the nice thing about being decades ahead of the game — the fever still hasn’t cooled since 1986, and like a universal solvent the sound remains right here, right now.
“Too Many Rappers (The Reactionaries Version)”, featuring soul-tight spitting from Nas, may be the album’s taster. I melted into a puddle on the floor shortly after Nas smoothly declared “I have carte blanche, the vagabond” over a lockstep bass and skirring synth, but recovered long enough to be blown away by a call-and-response between Nas and the Beasties that will inevitably cause head-banging riots and clothes to fall off upon being performed live.
Santogold brings a sweet ragga flavor to “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”, a dense, psychedelic track that introduces an element of instrumental twist and crawl to the otherwise muscular hip-hop punk timbre of the album. “Lee Majors Comes Again” is by far the most punk track on the album, offering up rallying calls over feverish, smashing instrumentation that stands ready to blow out ear drums and the graffitied basement walls of every dive bar in Brooklyn. It’s solid fury– not the kind of Odd Future lyrical fury that makes KRS-ONE seem tongue-in-cheek, but it cuts just as deep.
Bottom line: You’ll need a straight jacket not to move to this album. Twenty-five years after Licensed To Ill, The Beastie Boys still reign supreme in their own musical hybridist dimension of audacious hip-hop and future punk. SALUTE THE SAUCE.