Once Adam Yauch discovered he had cancer in 2009, the Beastie Boys shelved their forthcoming The Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 1 and its companion volume, gradually reviving and revising the project once Yauch went into remission. At this point, they scrapped their convoluted plans to release concurrent complementary volumes of THSC and simply went forth with The Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2, which retained the bulk of the track list from Pt 1. All this hurly-burly camouflages the essential truth of The Hot Sauce Committee: that the Beasties could sit on an album for two years to no ill effect to their reputation or the record’s quality. This doesn’t suggest they’re out of step so much as they’re out of time, existing in a world of their own making, beholden to no other standard but their own. Certainly, the Beasties stitch together sounds and rhymes from their past throughout The Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2, laying down grooves à la Check Your Head but weaving samples through these rhythms, thickly layering the album with analog synths out of Hello Nasty, all the while pledging allegiance to old-school rap in their rhymes. Nothing here is exactly unexpected -- even the presence of Santogold on “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” isn’t new, it’s new wave -- yet The Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 feels fresh because there is such kinetic joy propelling this music. Last time around, the Beasties weighed themselves down by creating retro-tribute to N.Y.C., taking everything just a little bit too seriously, but here they’re free of any expectations and are back to doing what they do best: cracking wise and acting so stupid they camouflage how kinetic, inventive, and rich their music is. And, make no mistake, The Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 does find the Beastie Boys at their best. Perhaps they’re no longer setting the style, but it takes master musicians to continually find new wrinkles within a signature sound, which is precisely what the Beasties do here.
Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine