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Acclaimed Albums – Paul’s Boutique by Beastie Boys

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 230/250Title: Paul’s Boutique
Artist: Beastie Boys
Year: 1989
Position: #90

Over five years have gone by since I listened to Licensed to Ill and, finally, I am covering the second of the two Beastie Boys albums on this list. Since then, as of writing this, my prediction of The Streets dropping out of the Top 250 has yet to come to pass – meaning that I still have albums by both him and Eminem coming up before finishing off this particular challenge.

Unlike the previous album, there were no songs that I recognised on the first listen. I guess that this goes on to support how while Paul’s Boutique is the critical darling of their first two albums, it was still less commercially successful than the debut and as such there are fewer songs that average person like me will have heard.

Compared to the their first album, Paul’s Boutique is definitely more focused on beat crafting and filling it chock-a-block with samples. They also remain one of the few rap artists from this area that I can listen to without feeling a bit dirty afterwards because they don’t feel the need to make homophobic or overly misogynistic lyrics.

I know that this may still be a bit prudish on my side and that maybe I should just accept this in the music… on the other hand no. Hip-hop albums like this are proof positive that you can do this genre justice and not have to go into those territories over and over again. Probably means I should be okay with The Streets when I eventually get around to them, but not too sure about Eminem…

Acclaimed Albums – Licensed to Ill by Beastie Boys

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 83/250Title: Licensed to Ill
Artist: Beastie Boys
Year: 1986
Position: #183

I know next to nothing about hip-hop, but even I have heard of the Beastie Boys. Giant robots in music videos, Futurama appearances and an bald substitute teacher doing ‘Fight For Your Right’ at a school talent show. Yes, I am not a stranger to these white, middle class, Jewish rappers.

As I listened to Licensed to Ill it was rather shocking how many of these songs rang bells. Aside from the already mentioned ‘Fight For Your Right’, I have already come across ‘Girls’, ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’ , ‘Brass Monkey’ and a few others. I have no idea where from, I just knew them.

One thing that is to be said of this album is that whilst it is most definitely a hip hop album, it feels a lot more punk rocky. Like if the Clash had taken up rap music. There is just so much life in this album, that you can happily skirt past some of the weirder jarring elements (like the sampling of the Green Acres theme song) and appreciate it as something that truly influenced a lot of hip hop music that followed.

It is interesting to note that other than the Beastie Boys there are only two other white hip-hip acts with albums on the list (and by the time this goes it The Streets may have dropped out).