Friday, October 26, 2012

Song #283 (& #284) of 9999 - Sure Shot by Beastie Boys (+ Bonus!)

Song #283 of 9999                                                  Song #284 of 9999

Title: Sure Shot                                                        Title: Howling for Judy
Artist: Beastie Boys                                                 Artist: Jeremy Steig
Year: 1994                                                               Year: 1970
Album: Ill Communication                                       Album: Wayfaring Stranger

I was watching a comedy sketch show the other day and one of the comedians was musing about the fact that rap groups seem to have disappeared. Where there used to be collaborative efforts from Run-DMC, Public Enemy, NWA, and the Wu-Tang Clan, there now seems to be a preponderance of solo artists making hip-hop records. While this comment was mostly just a starting place to make a couple of jokes about Public Enemy's on-stage security force and the like, it's actually kind of an interesting point because one of the driving forces of early rap, i.e. battle rapping, seems to have all but disappeared from the genre.

With the death of Adam Yauch, it's hard to know whether the Beastie Boys are still a current rap group, but their collaborative and competitive spirit lives on in records like "Sure Shot." While not a battle rap, per se, the song stands as a good example of how three MCs can trade verses in the traditional boastful style of early rap. There is plenty of oneupmanship, even if they're not exactly dissing one another. With the Beastie Boys, the competition has always been about dropping pop culture references and there are plenty in this song from All-Star Minnesota Twin Rod Carew to underground comic strip artist Vaughn Bodé. All of this is set atop a sample from jazz flutist Jeremy Steig's "Howling for Judy," which I've featured here in its entirety because, well, it's a pretty sweet record.

Have a great weekend everybody!

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