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Beastie Boys, To the 5 Boroughs

The Beastie Boys last record, 1998’s Hello Nasty, was complete mayhem – but in a good way, though. That album tested the listener’s devotion, as it experimented with pop hooks and jazz-laced numbers layered with samples. During their six-year hiatus, the Boys created To the 5 Boroughs, their most stripped-down record to date. The single “Ch-Check it Out” flows on a blasting break beat, and “That’s it That’s All” is made up of blippy, minimalist electronica. But what makes To the 5 Boroughs a classic are they rhymes of Mike D, Ad Rock, and MCA. On “It Takes Time to Build,” MCA bluntly raps “Is the U.S. gonna keep breaking necks? / Maybe it’s time that we impeach Tex / And the military muscle that he wants to flex.” However, the most poignant song is the homage “An Open Letter to NYC,” which looks at how New York has overcome the 9/11 attacks. To the 5 Boroughs demonstrates the Beastie Boys skills as political and social lyricists. (Capitol) Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5 Stars

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