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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 April 2003
Just where to start with the Beastie Boys? With the drunken frat-boy anthem packed Licensed to Ill behind them, in itself a gloriously obnoxious party record - and full to the rim with hip hop classics - the Beasties returned in 1989 with something not only unexpected, but undeniably briiliant, groundbreaking, and as far away from Licensed to Ill as possible.

Well, maybe not too far away; for the 3 MC's - Adrock, MCA and Mike D - still rap in and around each other to splendid effect, only with about a zillion references to various tv shows, characters, films, musicians, or really whatever suits them in a free flowing lyrical extravaganza.

And the music? Damn, the music! Regrouping in LA with the Dust Brothers, taking a step away from Rick Rubins basic, albeit big sounding, beats, the Beasties rhyme over sample upon sample, be it the various percussions (Shake Your Rump alone samples about 4 different rhythms) or the various sounds - Egg Man emplys a 70's funk bass line over some classical stabs. Sounds of Science meanwhile emplys various moments from the Beatles back catalogue.

And the thing is, it all comes out as the Beasties own work. Such is the imagination and depth in this record, it really is deep enough for you to infintely catch something new every time you play a select track, yet alone the whole album.

Along with De La Souls 3 Feet high and Rising, Paul's Boutique not only showed early signs of the Beasties creativity and willingness to try new things, but groundbreaking sampling techniques that really form something of a one-off album. This record would never make it out today - it would cost millions!

Before the return to instruments, on the following record, Check Your Head, the Beasties re-defined their hip hop sound whilst taking it in another direction. Highlights come by in the way of the excellent Car Their, a real gem, with the Beasties rhyming over a mellowed slice of funk. Elsewhere, the aforementioned Shake Your Rump is a bombastic opener, with clattering drum rolls, hot bass lines and the Beasties on real form rapping wise.

Everything about this record, from the chilled intro and outro, and so much music in-between, is perfect. And not just in hip hop terms, but for any style of music. It really shows the creativeness that real hip hop can bring to music, from people who clearly love their music. Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun for instance, is essentially fierce rhymes over metal guitars, whilst the excellent story telling of High Plains Drifter uses all of one bass note, but it's effectiveness is supreme.

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on 17 January 2012
Bona-fide, stone cold masterpieces are hard to come by, but this is the masterpiece of all masterpieces. Absolutely phenomenal from beginning to end, funny, witty, if you don't like this you're insane. Just insane...

They do the whole, rhyming for rhymes sake better than anyone i have ever heard, it like Highway 61 Revisited only faster and more persistent, and more care-free. Lyrically they're up there with Dylan and Morrissey not in that they are saying something particularly profound, they can't sum the world up with one staggering line like Dylan can, but they rhyme and rhyme and rhyme and sample and rhyme. It is genius. Absolute genius.

Case in point:

"I Know alota deaf girls who like to do anything
A lot of parents like to think I'm a villain
I'm just chillin' like Bob Dylan.
Yeah, I smoke cheeba it helps me with my brain
I might be a little dusted but I'm not insane"

Oh yes...
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 October 2016
The Beastie Boys second album following an acrimonious split from Rick Rubin. After being unkindly labelled 'Frat Rock' for their first album and dismissed as a fad The Beastie Boys were looking for a different sound. They found it after relocating to Los Angeles and hearing mixes done by The Dust Brothers at a nightclub which impressed them. With contact made, they managed to persuade The Dust Brothers to let them rap over dense instrumental tracks originally assigned to their own next release - with fabulous results. Aside from the vocals, nothing you hear is new - it's all samples, from a time when sourcing and getting a licence was relatively easy. It's the mix of breath taking originality, sonically varied and clever, often humorous rapping which wasn't about bragging that set this album apart. Samples from The Beatles, Mountain, Grandmaster Flash, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, Chic, James Brown, Sly and The Family Stone, Deep Purple, The Sweet, The Band... and many, many more. No one else was pulling together such disparate samples and making something entirely new from the stew. The late 1980's technology was primitive by modern standards and make the achievement all the more noteworthy - but it's taken retrospective appreciation to reveal this as one of hip hop's greatest achievements, at the time reviews were largely scathing about the density and the direction change for this trio. Hindsight shows how ahead of it's time this album was, with Beastie classics such as Shake Your Rump and Shadrach standouts. The Sounds Of Science, featuring multiple Beatles samples predated Giles Martin's own reworks on the Love album, showing great creativity. But that creativity is nowhere better displayed than on album closer B-Boy Bouillabaisse, which changes direction completely nine times in a piecework tapestry of ideas. A hip hop classic.
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on 31 May 2015
Just when everyone thought the Beastie Boys would be a one-album wonder, they went away and then - boom - they came back with this piece of sheer genius.

On its release it was way, way ahead of its time, and so it has aged remarkably well. This album is a sheer smorgasbord of samples and breakbeats, and it owes much to the talent of its producers, 'The Dust Brothers'. But the ultra-cool sound is complimented brilliantly by the lyrics of the beasties, crammed with shaggy dog tales and cool cultural references just waiting to be explored.

Along with the "check your head" album, this has consistently remained one of my favourite albums. If you are a fan of hip hop or sampling, or just appreciate good music, then you really should own this. Consider the vinyl, too - well worth it purely because it's the only way to see the fantastic cover art in all its glory. And check out the "beastie boys annotated" guide online. It will help you to really explore this album.
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on 4 May 2012
One of the best Beastie Boys albums, that was so far ahead of its time on release. Full of humour and energy - a great counter point to what Hip Hop was becoming. RIP MCA.
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on 16 December 2013
The greatest rap album i've ever listened to. The multilayered sampling and the genius lyrics make this almost a perfect album. Constantly have this on repeat.
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on 8 December 2004
I first got hold of Paul's Boutique in 1993 after Check your Head got me into the Beasties. Nearly 12 years later it still sounds as exciting as the first time I heard it. I never want to skip any of the tracks and I always hear something new that makes me smile.
I don't know why it's this good, so I won't speculate. But, it's a proven fact that your life is less good if you don't own this album.
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on 13 October 2014
A fantastic album from start to finish - Beastie Boys at their best. Lyrics are still fresh today, catchy and amusing. A great mix! An album you will want to listen to over and over again. A definite must own!
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on 26 November 2001
this is and album that sounds like no other. well certainly not anything else at the time. if you like odelay by beck then this is an absolute must. by far and away the best album that the beasties ever did, and that's not to say that most of the others aren't top. hearing paul's boutique was what inspired james lavelle to set up mo'wax too. i agree that the appeal lies in the out of this world production but the rhyming is the kind of wise guy type stuff that you'd expect from ad rock, mca, and mike d. pure class basically
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on 4 March 2014
What can you say - brilliant album - no music collection is complete without it.
Fabulous stuff
buy it and Enjoy it
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