In order for Capitol to allow the Beasties to press forward with their soon to be released (in the UK) concert movie, Awesome; I Shot That, they requested the bands MCA to compile a 15-track greatest hits collection in the run up to Xmas 2005.
But never mind the fact that this is a blatent record company idea. And never mind the fact that 1999's excellent Anthology (with most the hits, rarities, b-sides, and other songs the Beasties themsleves like and chose) already exists...if you're new to the boys or just a casual fan, this is absolutely perfect.
Every track really is solid gold, and each album is represented fairly, albeit obviously. So there's the early frat boy rocker anthems of Fight For Your Right and No Sleep Til Brooklyn, still sounding gloriously mega 20 years on, to the recent offerings including 98's Intergalactic (a UK best single chart-wise for the boys) and even more recently the Beasties comeback single Ch-Check It Out.
For a band who, in all honesty, offer so much on the individual records, taking the biggest singles over 20 years is always going to result in a decent collection. Sure Shot, perhaps a career highlight, is just absolutely perfect hip hop, as is 95's old school Jimmy Smith sampling Root Down. See Brass Monkey, a hip hop classic, slide along side later works such as the excellent Pass the Mic, or 2004's heavier toned An Open Letter to NYC.
The whole 15 track collection is littered with classic, classic Beastie Boys, old and new. It's no fair representation of all their work over the years, and the various styles they've incorporated in their music, but it's a collection of singles any rap group would die for. And I say rap, I use it in the credible sense. Today's artists at the top of the pile, say the Eminems or 50 Cents of this world, could never match the work here.