Beastie Boys, Licensed To Ill

The album's barely disguised misogynist tendencies (and not so disguised, see "Girls") wear pretty bad in these enlightened times — for that matter, so has Russell Simmons — and the overall feel of a second-rate frat party before the cops roll up permeates almost all of the first half. But what this record profoundly lacks in tact and social graces it makes up for with some truly original, genre-straddling hip hop: there's "Fight For Your Right" and "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," one more punk than rap and the other the reverse but darn good at both, the famous reversed 808 beat with a reversed revolutionary tale in "Paul Revere" and of course the party favourite "Brass Monkey" with all of its deep bass, howling horns and shallow alcoholic storyline. The production is hungry and minimal and the samples fast, furious and uncompensated, but the beat don't stop and neither does the boisterous attitude (like lead-in "Rhymin & Stealin" and "Slow and Low"). Kurtis Blow they weren't, but if you like your hip-hop raw, raucous and Jewish, it's time to get ill. (Content: sexual and drug references.)