Beastie Boys as saucy as ever

(Cesar Rangel/AFP/Getty Images/File)
By Zeth Lundy
Globe Correspondent / May 3, 2011

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Rapping about how well you rap is both stubbornly old school and totally meta. It’s also a form of hip-hop Darwinism, as the Beastie Boys, now in their mid-40s and still one step ahead of trash-talking competitors, demonstrate to the fullest on their eighth studio album. Not counting their underrated 2007 instrumental album, “The Mix-Up,’’ “Hot Sauce Committee Part 2’’ is the trio’s first hip-hop release in seven years — the longest wait of their career, due in part to a delay while member Adam “MCA’’ Yauch battled cancer. MCA and fellow Beasties Adam “Ad-Rock’’ Horowitz and Michael “Mike D’’ Diamond put the proverbial shame in their contemporaries’ game throughout the album’s lean 45 minutes; on the opening track, “Make Some Noise,’’ Mike D boasts of “taking MCs down by lethal rap injection,’’ Ad-Rock sniffs “suckas out like a beagle,’’ and MCA advises, “When I catch MCs it’s time for wing clipping.’’ This is, of course, absurd Beasties territory, so mentions of Wolf Blitzer, pad thai, Crocs, and Bob Dylan lyric quotations abound. Sonically, the trio keeps things interesting, moving from the sparse percussion and bass of “Nonstop Disco Powerpack’’ and the dense fuzz topography of “Say It’’ to the dub-inflected “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win’’ and breakneck punk of “Lee Majors Come Again.’’ Mixing it up, keeping it fresh, and staying on guard keep stagnancy at bay — as the adage says, “on and on till the break of dawn.’’ (Out today)

ESSENTIAL “Nonstop Disco Powerpack’’