Friday, November 11, 2011

90's Hit Parade #15

Beastie Boys - Root Down

I wrote a bit about this song in 2007
. Here's some of what I said:

I've decided that "Root Down" is my favorite Beastie Boys song. It used to be "Shadrach," but "Root Down" has taken the lead. It's Mike D's final, autobiographical verse that sends it over the top for me:

Every day I'd take the train to the High Street Station
Doin' homework on the train, what a fucked up situation
On the way back up hearin' battle tapes
Through the underground underneath the skyscrapes
Like Harlem World Battles on The Zulu Beat Show
Like Busy B/Kool Moe Dee, that's one you should know
Enough of that, just gotta give some respect
To MCA, grab the mic and Ma Bell will connect

(I had to look that up. I always thought the last line was "To MCA, grab the mic and rock it all to heck" or something) I love the picture that paints so vividly of growing up in NYC in the 70's and 80's. And "underneath the skyscrapes" has a great, percussive sound to it.

As I noted the first time, it's also got a great video that mixes the Beasties with old footage of dj's, b-boys, graffiti and subway trains, adding to the 70's NYC vibe that the song evokes so well. Mike D really dominates this track: he also has this great rhyme:

We're Talking Root Down, I Put My Root Down
And If You Want To Battle Me, You're Putting Loot Down
I Said Root Down, It's Time To Scoot Down
I'm A Step Up To The Mic In My Goose Down

And this excellent piece of philosophy:

Sometimes I Feel As Though I've Been Blessed
Because I'm Doing What I Want So I Never Rest

Anyway, since the Beastie Boys are my all-time favorite band, and this is my all-time favorite Beastie Boys track, I have to rank it pretty high. The track is entirely constructed from cutting up Jimmy Smith's jam "Root Down and Git It." Listen to the original if you've never heard it, it's dope!


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