The General Journal

The student news site of Heritage High School

  • This year's yearbooks are on sale at!

The General Journal

The General Journal

From Flop to Bop: A Beastie Boys Review

Step into this extensive review on the second Beastie Boys’ album “Paul’s Boutique.”
Kinsley Cheatham

July 25th, 1989, was just like any other day, except for the fact that at the time popular hip-hop/rap group the Beastie Boys had released their new album “Paul’s Boutique.” The release of this album would ultimately change the hip-hop genre forever.

Formed in 1981 in middle Manhattan and made up of three Jewish dudes, MCA (Adam Yauch), Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz), and Mike D. (Micheal Diamond).  The group’s debut with the 1986 album “Licensed to Ill” formed the frat-boy image the group was known for with songs like “Fight for Your Right” and “Brass Monkey.” The album skyrocketed in popularity with other hits such as “Paul Revere” and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” It was also the first rap album to hit number one on the Billboard Album Chart at its time. The Beasties Boys were some of the first white rappers to gain a large following; however, it wasn’t until after a tour with popular rappers ‘Run-D.M.C.’ that they won over the rap audience. 

“Paul’s Boutique” was one of the most innovative albums of its time. Whether that be its creative lyrics or its use of 100-300 different samples, the distinctive style is hard to miss. Despite “Paul’s Boutique” being credited as one of the greatest albums of all time, it originally didn’t do as well as their debut album (which was a near-instant success). “One of the reasons their second album originally wasn’t doing so hot was because U.S Kmart stores banned the album from their stores because of ‘Offensive lyrics’ which prevented a lot of people from being able to listen to their music.” as said in the Los Angeles Daily News.

When I first listened to this album I didn’t sit down and think, “Wow this is great stuff.” This was due to the first track on the album being “To All the Girls” which I did not like whatsoever because of its slow jazz-like nature. Plus, I didn’t like the fact that it felt like MCA was whispering in my ear. I did soldier on through my initial displeasure, and found that I enjoyed the rest of the album. 

The first song that sticks out on the album to most listeners would probably be “Shake your Rump,” which is not coincidentally the second track on the album. The song starts out drum-heavy that really captures your attention. The first time I heard the song this part immediately jumped out at me, and I had to pause the song just because I was so surprised by how sporadic, yet great, it sounded. Once it hits the chorus the beat turns into an electric and funky beat that just hits you in the face. This is probably one of, if not my favorite, songs on the track due to the beat and the funny lyrics. 

The next song that stands out to me is probably “Egg Man.” The first few seconds I listened to the song I generally felt underwhelmed. To be frank, the instrumental was nice and the lyrics were of course still in the funny chaotic Beastie Boys way. What caught my attention in this song was when it became evident that a few of the samples were becoming more prominent in the song. When a sample from the Public Enemy song “Bring the Noise” appeared it really shook me.  The entire song is filled with samples, however if you’re not paying attention or don’t know the original artist you don’t know it is a sample. When you hear the sample from the group Public Enemy that’s when you really realize it because of the drastic difference between vocals and instrumental. After that point, I enjoyed the song. I like the fact that the sample throws you off guard when you first hear it.

If “Shake Your Rump” is my favorite on this album then “Sounds of Science” is probably my second. “Sounds of Science” first has a very slow ‘circus-like’ sound to it. I like the initial playful tone of the song before it delves into the more hardcore rap part—which is equally as good. When the track starts it sounds like it might be it’s gonna be overall similar to their song “Girls” on their earlier album which also had an overall goofy instrumental to it. However, during the middle of the song it fully switches into this hardcore rap and you’re like “Woah.” 

My last favorite song is “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun.” I like the instrumental of this song and how overall fast it can seem. One thing I like about this song is that despite the Beastie Boys already being known for their goofy and nonseries lyrics, I like the fact that the senseless lyrics are paired with the serious, action-packed instrumental. What made the Beastie Boys’ lyrics so funny in their songs is how they have such obscure references in every song; for example in this song they make references to Bruce Willis in “Die Hard” and David Berkowitz (otherwise known as ‘Son of Sam’) who was an American serial killer from the 70s.  

Overall, I’d rate “Paul’s Boutique” a 10/10, and can see why so many hip-hop enthusiasts consider it to be one of the best albums ever released. I’d highly recommend anyone who hasn’t listened to the album to listen to it. Not only were the majority of the tracks good, but listening to Paul’s Boutique feels like an experience in itself. 

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kinsley Cheatham
Kinsley Cheatham, Staff Writer
Kinsley Cheatham is a freshman this year at Heritage High School. At school Kinsley is involved in the Tech Team for the musical and a member of the Creative Writing Club, in addition to being on the Journalism staff. When she isn’t doing any of that, you can most likely find her listening to music and creating some sort of art piece. Her favorite music artists consist of Janis Joplin, Melanie Martinez, Lana Del Rey, Insane Clown Posse, The Beastie Boys, and various rock bands from the 80s and 90s. Kinsley hopes to be some sort of therapist when she’s older, as she enjoys giving advice and helping people. She also enjoys watching movies a lot; her favorite movies happen to be "The Breakfast Club," "Heathers," and "Night at the Museum." She has one dog, a Golden Retriever named Lola. Kinsley is very excited to be in Journalism this year and cannot wait to see how the rest of her freshman year will go.