The Beastie Boys: All Growns Up (Relix Revisited)
Before we’ve made any ground, the band’s publicist approaches to end the interview and nudge the band out the door. Yet they insist on giving me a chance to ask a few more questions: “We’ve been bullshitting. Give ‘em a few more minutes,” says MCA. But when I look over and see another impatient minder at the door, to their surprise I suggest that we stop there and set up phoners – as in phone interviews.
Mike D: “Cold as Ice!” [Humming the song’s intro] Dunt-nunt-nunt-nunt-nunt-nunt-nunt-nunt… Let’s talk about Foreigner.
Ad Rock: He doesn’t want to, man. It’s not on his list [looking down at my notebook].
Mike D: Alright, come on, just pick a question.
Not expecting much, and picking something off the top of my head – instead of from my list – I ask them what they’re more excited to hear these days, the new Arcade Fire album or the new Nas record.
Ad Rock: Nas excites me more than Arcade Fire.
Mike D: I bought both records on iTunes. You can check my account.
Ad Rock: You downloaded them? Whoa.
Mike D: No, I didn’t. Tamra bought the CD, so I loaded in the CD. And Nas’ Hip-Hop is Dead, I bought the CD. And, largely, he delivered. The whole album wasn’t off for me, but, he delivered. Arcade Fire, too. I’m not shittin’ on them.
Having their attention, however momentarily, I try to rattle off one more question, and bring up the press conference they held the day before during which a group of writers, mostly from fanzines and websites, repeatedly brought up the trio’s race and prodded them for their thoughts on hip-hop. One interviewer from South America asked in an odd, round-about way, if they were disappointed that more white rappers had not found success. Other questions seemed intended to get them to bash current hip-hop, especially Southern hip-hop, which they wouldn’t do. I ask whether they find it strange that, 25 years into their career, they’re still being asked about race.
MCA: We get that every time we tour.
Mike D: And it’s really outside of America, because I really think that now we’re at a point in America and American culture where it’s like hip-hop is such an integrated…
Ad Rock: We gotta go, son. [MCA laughs]
Mike D: If you’re starting a band, you’re going to be influenced by whoever – The Who, Bob Marley, Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, whoever. You can’t help it. It’s in your blood at this point.
Having bullshitted their way through the entire ten minutes and then some, all three agree to talk more – and more seriously, hopefully – on the phone the following week. While that week ends up being a month, when each of three pick up the phone, they agree to temper the jokes and give me something I can use. And they do.