Check Your Head (4-LP Deluxe Edition)
In celebration of their seminal, multi-platinum record, the quintessential Check Your Head, the Beastie Boys have reissued the rare, 4-LP deluxe edition of the album. Check Your Head (4-LP Deluxe Edition) was initially released in 2009 exclusively on the Beastie Boys’ online store. The limited reissue features Check Your Head along with an additional sixteen live, instrumental, remixed, and alternate cuts, making for a stellar celebration of one of hip-hop’s greatest alternative releases.
Check Your Head remains an undisputed classic. Opting out of the sample-heavy style the Dust Brothers employed on Paul’s Boutique, the Beastie Boys took a step back to write a record that relied on few samples of other artist’s work. The result was a jam-heavy album that saw the Beatie Boys sample their own instrumental output that blurred the lines between hip-hop, punk, and alternative rock. Through such sonic exploration and creative methodology alone, Check Your Head – with essential tracks including “So What’Cha Want”, “Pass The Mic”, and “Jimmy James” – was in a class of its own. 30 years later and Check Your Head remains a timeless and unparalleled classic that can stand among some of the most unique works of creativity ever.
The second half of Check Your Head (4-LP Deluxe Edition) consists of two LPs worth of live material, remixes, alternate takes, and instrumental versions that were initially released in 2009. While this portion of the reissue is far less essential than the original album – as is often the case with releases like this – there are moments of gold that shine further light onto the creative process surrounding the Check Your Head sessions and the Beastie Boys in the early ‘90s. “Gratitude – Live At Budokan” is an especially raw display of the Beastie Boys’ signature punk rock-infused hip-hop, while the tight bustle of “Stand Together – Live” delivers the full excitement of a Beastie Boys performance. While some of the instrumental tracks – particularly “Dub The Mic – Instrumental” and “Jimmy James – Original Original Version” – showcase the hard funk sound the band with digging deep into, it is the trio of “So What’Cha Want” remixes that shine brightest. All three versions – “Soul Assassin Remix”, “Butt Naked Version”, and “All The Way Live Freestyle Version” – breathe new life into the song, demonstrating a number of different directions present during the creative process.
Check Your Head remains a masterpiece, a true gem among the eclectic and stellar discography of the Beastie Boys. With the addition of the Deluxe Edition, the legacy of this album is only enriched; however, the extent of the material included does not always feel entirely necessary. As is often the case with massive reissues like this, where Check Your Head (4-LP Deluxe Edition) shines is its depiction of the Beastie Boys. Often written off as frat boys to goofy rappers, there is a level of artistry to their work that is often overlooked among the mainstream. Check Your Head (4-LP Deluxe Edition) paints the picture of the Beastie Boys as genuine artists in the pursuit of sonic individualism for its own sake. The resulting collection, without a doubt, is a strong testament to this.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: BEASTIE BOYS – CHECK YOUR HEAD (4-LP DELUXE EDITION)