Licensed to Ill belonged to the frat boys Paul's Boutique belonged to the hip-hop underground Check Your Head belonged to everyone. Lovers of punk, metal, rap, funk, soul and jazz found something to savor on this 1992 landmark; here are So What 'Cha Want; Funky Boss; Finger Lickin' Good; Jimmy James; Pass the Mic , and the rest.
With their third album, the Beasties transformed themselves from smart-ass punks with hip-hop tones into a playful live funk band with some solid rhymes, assisted by the extraordinary keyboardist "Money" Mark Ramos Nishita. A couple of tracks look back to their old school rap roots, and they still deploy goofy samples like nobody's business, but they're mostly making their own grooves (including some instrumentals worthy of being sampled in their own right). Their universalist world-view results in some excellent, off-the-wall fusions--the metalloid bump that forms the funk pulse of "So What'cha Want", Sly Stone's "Time for Livin'" transformed into a hard-rock bomber--but the Beasties don't have to prove how clever they are any more, and they're stronger and more humane for it. --Douglas Wolk