This list of the 10 best Beastie Boys songs spans the career of one of the longest-lasting rap groups in existence. Who would have thought back in the 1980s that these three awkward Jewish kids would become one of the most successful hip-hop acts of all time? Although they may have taken a turn toward heavy-handed political lyrics in the last decade or so, they are still one of the most fun musical acts around.
- “Fight for Your Right To Party” This is the song that started it all. Foreshadowing their future interest in politics, here the Beastie Boys encouraged their listeners to stick it to their parents by smoking, wearing their hair long, and (of course) listening to the Beastie Boys.
- “Sabotage” By the time they recorded “Sabotage,” the Beastie Boys had taken an interest in playing their own instruments. The result is this intense song that combines rock instruments with rap lyrics, resulting in one of the only decent rap-rock songs to ever be made. Also, the video by Spike Jonze was all kinds of awesome.
- “Shake Your Rump” This track appeared on “Paul’s Boutique,” the album most cited by pretentious music critics as the Beastie Boys’ best. While the production by the Dust Brothers on this album was certainly nothing short of amazing, there was also a lack of the sort of stand-out singles found on their other albums. “Shake Your Rump” is one of the strongest and most fun songs on the album, though, and probably the most likely to still be played in clubs.
- “So What’cha Want” The stand-out track on “Check Your Head,” this song also brought a dirty, near-grunge aesthetic (matched by the minimalist, visually distorted music video) that fit well with the sort of rock music coming out at the time of its release while still being distinctively Beastie.
- “Root Down” Sampling the Jimmy Smith song of the same name, this song first appeared on “Ill Communication” and also on a separate EP. It’s jazzy, funky, and it’s one of the best Beastie Boys songs of all time.
- “Netty’s Girl” The last track on the “Pass the Mic” EP, this unusual song features the rather unique vocal stylings of Mike D as he sings about this girl he saw at Netty’s the other day.
- “Intergalactic” The first single to be released for the album “Hello Nasty,” this song finds the Beastie Boys waxing rhapsodic about other dimensions, new galaxies, and the Flintstone Flop. Its music video was also one of their most entertaining.
- “Brass Monkey” A long-time club staple, this song is about little else besides getting hammered on the titular drink. For some reason, it has been immensely popular among the intoxicated.
- “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” One of the more autobiographical Beastie Boys songs, “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” is about the Beasties being on the road bringing their rhymes to the people.
- “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” The Beastie Boys don’t often have violent and aggressive lyrics, but this song is an exception. It’s angry, it’s loud, and it’s one of their best.
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