Just so you can hear it for at least 4000 times before you die, the Beastie Boys started out as a punk band. A really awful one. Although there might be some arguement that they maintained a "punk sensibility" with their first two records, Licensed to Ill and Paul's Boutique. When it came time to make Check Your Head, they'd pretty much exorcised any demons they may have had in referencing their idols, and they'd pretty much gone as far after Mr. Rabbit with the Dust Brothers, so it was about time for them to come up with a sound, something they could call their own. In doing so, they constructed one of the strongest albums of the 90's, one of the weirdest hit-sellers of any decade, and, quite possibly their best possible "Beastie" album ever. (Credit has to be given to the Dust for Paul's, or it would stand alone.) Without the overlord control of Mixmaster Mike or the visual stamp of Spike Jonze, and, most of all, without all the irritating Buddhist 'let's-all-be-pals' shit, Check Your Head is, to some extent, the last time we get to see the Beastie Boys: after this, they just grew up too fast.
Whether it was sticking dicks in mashed potatoes or nodding out to "Something's Got To Give," haunting thrift stores for the outfits in the "So What'cha Want" video, Check Your Head got a ball rolling in 1992 that hasn't stopped yet. These tracks are still cooler than the rest, still as adventerous and dope-laden as they were when they first showed up on tape-decks. The picture on the front said it all: they don't give a fuck about anything, and they're waiting on you to try to be as cool as they are. After this, it's all babies and memories: so what do you want?
-Tucker Stone, 2006
Has any band ever released three sequential albums as
diverse and successful as the first three Beastie Boys records? License
to Ill lives somewhere in the CD collection of anyone under the age of
forty who owns more than three CDs. That
album spawned nine  nine!)
singles, all of which entered immediately into the cultural lexicon, and all of
which are nearly flawless  even
though the Beastie Boys have since mostly disowned them. The follow-up, Paul’s Boutique, had nowhere near the commercial success of License to Ill, it makes up for that
with sheer ambition. The Beasties and
the Dust Brothers team up to transform more than 100 (legal) samples into what
can only  be
described as one of the sweetest works of postmodern art of any genre. After all of this—artistic success,
commercial failure, and vice versa—in 1992 the Beastie Boys set out to reinvent
themselves once again, as well as launch their own label, Grand Royal. They did this by creating an album even more
ambitious, impenetrable, and commercially risky than Paul’s Boutique. Their
backwards logic paid off. Check Your Head hit number 10 on the
Billboard charts, and cemented the fan base that both the Beastie Boys and
Grand Royal retained for the next decade.
Check Your Head is the kind of album that even casual listeners can recite backwards and forwards. The Beastie Boys picked up their instruments from their punk rock days and laid down thick, inimitable grooves—not strictly hip-hop, not strictly punk rock, not strictly funk, but embracing all three genres—and rocked them into as dense a sample-scape as on Paul’s Boutique. Some of the samples that they recontextualize—like Bob Dylan’s famous assertion from “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” “I’m going back to New York City/I do believe I’ve had enough”—take on even more dimension than in their original contexts.  That they managed to drop sweet, iconoclastic rhymes into this mix—is there a better line anywhere than “Don’t touch me/ ‘Cause I’m electric/ And if you touch me/ You’ll get shocked”?—is gravy. In a year of incredible genre-bending  and mix-taping ,the Beastie Boys out-genre-bend and mix-tape everyone.
 Ten, if you count “She’s Crafty,” which was the B-side to “Girls.”
 With the possible exception of “Brass Monkey,” only because it’s 1) impossible to dance to, yet 2) an infuriating 80’s dance party staple.
 Actually, this is a lie, since Paul’s Boutique can really only be described as “bangin’.”
 I use the Dylan sample here because it’s a bold thing to say, and it may sound a little extreme, but I also believe it.
 See The Factual Opinion’s Best Albums of 1992 #6, 11 &12
 See The Factual Opinion’s Best Albums of 1992 #6, 17 & 24
-Marty Brown, 2006