Beastie Boys: "The Mix-Up"
Producers: Beastie Boys
Label: Capitol
Release Date: June 26

Since 1992's "Check Your Head," the Beastie Boys have made a habit of sneaking little instrumental nuggets into their hip-hop records, and given the Boys' genetic inability to stay in one place for too long, it was probably only a matter of time before they indulged those proclivities on a full album of new material. Composed of low-end-heavy jams that reference the Meters, tropicalia, '70s funk and porn music (sometimes all at once) and zero words, "The Mix-Up" is thematically sound and feels like a comprehensive piece instead of a self-indulgent scheme. There are moments of thick, bona fide groove (the down-and-dirty "Off the Grid" chief among them). But stylistic aspirations aside, with the Beastie name on the cover, it's hard to listen without (sub)consciously seeking out the places where rhymes could go. --Jeff Vrabel

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