The Boys honor the Big Apple’s recovery from 9/11 in “An Open Letter to NYC.” Unlike most rappers, they proudly remain unarmed on “The Brouhaha” (“[I] don’t carry a knife and I don’t carry a gun”). Other cuts condemn racial injustice (“Right Right Now Now”), crack cocaine (“All Life Styles”), and drinking and driving (“Triple Trouble”).
The group toes a strongly liberal party line when suggesting social remedies. Several tracks bash President Bush (“Time to Build,” “That’s It That’s All”), while “We Got The” condemns the Christian Coalition and the rest of the “right wing.” The amoral “All Lifestyles” says people should do whatever they want “if it don’t hurt nobody else.” Harsh language (“g–d–n,” s- and f-words) is common. The rappers describe nudity (“That’s It That’s All,” “The Brouhaha”) and threaten to make someone “extinct” (“The Hard Way”). More than a half-dozen songs feature vain boasting. The Beastie Boys put disrespectful spins on “In God We Trust” and Jesus’ walking on water.
Since the group’s heyday, Adam Yauch in particular has lamented his act’s irresponsible lyrics. So why record songs such as “Hey F*?# You” now? Any social conscience gets lost amid obscenities and ultraliberal grandstanding. To the 5 Boroughs deserves the Bronx cheer.