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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I own the Beastie Boys CD Paul’s Boutique. In fact, I’ve purchased that particular CD twice in my lifetime. If you’re not familiar with the Beastie Boys, they’re a rap group that was very popular in the late 80s and early 90s but have since pretty much disappeared off the scene.

I’m not a big fan of rap, though I used to be a serious connoisseur in my youth. And by that I mean ages 12 to 16, which would have been from 1986 to 1990. In that time, I accumulated about 45-50 CDs of rap music ranging from Public Enemy to EPMD to Geto Boys to The Jaz to Digital Underground. When I look back, I can’t believe that I listened to some of the things I listened to but there’s a lot of my childhood that is completely inexplicable. In fact, I went to a Public Enemy concert when I was 14 or 15 with my friend and I recall that we were easily the most white bread kids there.

The Beastie Boys, along with 3rd Bass, are the only two rap groups that I keep in my CD library—though MC Hawking is a recent and hilarious addition. Why? They’re lyrics and rhythm are just too funky and have withstood the test of time. Every now and then I get the urge to go purchase a Public Enemy, Young MC, or Digital Underground CD but it quickly passes because I only liked a couple of songs from each CD. The Beastie Boys in particular offer us some highly packed lyrics, chock full of pop cultural allusions.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never heard any of the Beastie Boys’ other CDs so I don’t know how characteristic Paul’s Boutique is of their oeuvre. If you like rap (or can stomach it), you should really get that CD.