Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Beastie Boys -- "Fight For Your Right" (1986)

This is a rap song that even a rock and roller could love.

Coming out of the early Rick Rubin/Def Jam era, when Rubin was sampling some of classic rock's greatest artists for rap tunes (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath), this song, in many ways, was a stroke of genius.

Every young white boy likes a good party song that is loud, obnoxious and you could sing along to like an anthem. "Fight For Your Right" had those three qualities in spades. Throw in the age-old "your parents suck" sentiment, a little porn mention, overdriven guitar riffs and some good old tongue-in-cheek subversiveness and you've got every ingredient for a hit. Except the lyrics are rapped, or should I say, shouted!

So it was no wonder that this song was a no-brainer as my summer Fire Island house anthem in 1987. Please -- silly single white boys from Manhattan, Long Island and Queens spending every weekend in a non-stop happy hour and looking for potential girlfriends?

While Run-DMC recruited the actual Aerosmith band to blend rock and rap, Rubin did the job himself in what can best be described as one cheesy rock production. There are no dynamics in the simple kick, snare and ride cymbal loop (the ride is the giveaway, as it sounds like it's hit at the exact same velocity throughout the song). The meathead three-chord riff mimic the first three notes of Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water." The song's biggest letdown is the solo (once dubbed by Guitar World as one of rock's worst), which you are anticipating some crazy stuff for air guitar nirvana, and it basically sputters from the beginning. I guess Rubin just knew chords!

You wake up late for school man you don't wanna go,
You ask your mom "please?" but she still says "NO!"
You miss two classes and no homework
but your teacher preaches class like your some kind of jerk

You gotta fight, for your right,
to paaaaaaaaaarty!

Your pops caught you smokin' man he said "NO WAY!"
That hypocrite smokes two packs a day!
Man, living at home is such a drag
Now your mom threw away your best porno mag.

You gotta fight, for your right,
to paaaaaaaaaarty!

Don't step outta this house if that's the clothes you're gonna wear!!!!
I'll kick you outta my home if you dont CUT THAT HAIR!!
Your mom busted in and said "WHAT'S THAT NOISE!?!?"
Aww, mom your just jealous it's The Beastie Boys!

For a cheesy rock/rap classic, you need an equally cheesy video, this one costing a reputed $20,000. It gave the three Beastie Boys a terrific excuse to basically strut into a living room, turn a nerd party upside down, hit on the girls, spike the punch, throw custard pies, let their degenerate friends in, and make a mess.


Anonymous said...

Quick note on the (awful) solo: Played by Kerry King of Slayer, not by Rubin.

Anonymous said...

Nope, Rubin did all the guitars