Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Beastie Boys: Hello Nasty [Grand Royal/Capitol, 1998]
Rap is their heritage, and having wasted years proving they can't play their instruments while enrapturing MTV fans who loved them for trying, they come home not an album too soon--flowing prose to cons and cons to pros, scheming rhymes against reason like flow against know. Old-school in their spare breakbeats, skilled back-scratching, and heavy-breathing beatbox, they also remember how to lay on the guitar, and dance like Juba through missteps from planet-rock Vocoder to Roy Ayers carioca to good old Hammond B-3. And of course they rhyme, wise and wiseass, humanitarian without ever getting sappy about it--and without mentioning the Dalai Lama once. A