Monday, December 2, 2019

"(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)" by Beastie Boys

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2970
Date:  12/20/1986
Debut:  86
Peak:  7
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Rap-Rock

Pop Bits:  This hip-hop outfit first formed as a hardcore punk band in New York in 1981. They gained a following playing in various clubs including the famed CBGB. Their first recording was a 1982 EP titled Polly Wog Stew. Over the next couple of years, the band would evolve and eventually become a hip-hop trio make up of Mike D (Michael Diamond), MCA (Adam Yauch), and Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz). Their first hip-hop recording was the 1984 12" single "Cooky Puss." The trio then further developed their sound and for their live shows hired on a DJ by the name of Rick Rubin to help them out. Rubin worked with the Boys while developing his skills as a producer. He would soon form Def Jam Records with Russell Simmons and bring the Beasties on board. The trio would refine their sound to include rap along with elements of hard rock and metal. They also became adept and weaving samples into their songs. They began releasing singles for Def Jam beginning with 1984's "Rock Hard." Several more would follow with the bulk of them slated to be included on their debut album Licensed to Ill. The LP was released in November '86 and not long after, this track was issued out as a single (technically it was the fourth single from the album). It was intended to be a parody of party-style rock songs, but most folks ignored (or didn't get) the irony and latched on to it as a rock/rap party anthem. Thanks to a raucous MTV video that got heavily played, the track caught on and it climbed into the Pop Top 10. The album would make it to the top spot and stay there for a seven-week reign. In doing so, it became the first rap album to reach #1 on the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  You know those old videos that show a shock wave from something like an atomic bomb hitting trees and buildings and such? That was kind of the feeling I got the first time I heard this song. It really bowled me over. It wasn't the first rock/rap hybrid tune I had heard, but it was certainly the most in-your-face one. It was just a crazy-ass track. Regardless of how they meant this song to be taken, there was just no doubt people were going to make this a party anthem. It just had to be. The trick was trying to outlast the novelty of this hit and they certainly did by creating works that were steps above this. Still, it's a fun track that got them established.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This hit was both a blessing and a curse. Obviously, it made stars out of the Beastie Boys and they went on to sell millions of records and ended up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. However, the frat/party boy image from both the song and the video ended up becoming a bit detrimental. This song was meant as a parody as was their performances in the video, yet rockers and partiers took both as who the Beastie Boys were. The irony got lost. But then the Beasties themselves decided to play into the image, which just made things worse. Because of that, the trio then couldn't turn it off when they realized they had kind of become what they originally had parodied. The image they set with the song dogged them throughout their career. Yet they continued on and even though they would not have another hit of this size, their albums would be influential and highly regarded by critics.


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