The Rap Trio's 6th Studio Album Is Considered The Black Sheep Of Their Discography
To The 5 Boroughs: The Album That Almost Killed The Beastie Boys.
The NYC based rap trio the Beastie Boys released their 6th studio album To The 5 Boroughs on June 15th 2004, their first album since the 9/11 terrorist attack brought down the city's Twin Towers and ramped up the War on Terror declared by then US President, George W. Bush.
The album explores how the attack on the World Trade Center affected not just the trio, NYC, or America, but the whole world.
The album gets political real quick with the 2nd track on Side A, Right Right Now Now, being a commentary on the Republican Party in the United States, racism, antisemitism, and the War on Terror.
Also on Side A is the 4th track called It Takes Time To Build, which is used by the band to rip into America's then strong reliance on OPEC and to discuss the then mythical concept of Climate Change.
Despite the album hitting number 1 on both the US Billboard 200 and US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts, fans were left with a bad taste in their mouths.
Though the album was praised for it's opening track Ch-Check It Out and other songs on the record including Triple Trouble, Rhyme The Rhyme Well, and All Lifestyles.
Many saw the in-your-face political preaching in Right Right Now Now and It Takes Time To Build as regressing the art of rapping back to an age of slanderous campaign slogans, a style of rap that's taken for granted nowadays.
But back in 2004, with 9/11 still on everyone's minds, it was seen as offensive and insulting to America as Patriotism in the US soared to heights not seen since 1776.
Some fans went as far as to destroy copies of the album in fire pits and throwing them into the Hudson River, with the band stating: "They can do what they want, they bought them.
The more people buy To The 5 Boroughs with intent to destroy them, the more money we make.
Sort of defeats the purpose the act is supposed to convey".
To The 5 Boroughs was also hit with controversy for a reason other than being preachy about denouncing George W. Bush, as the band was accused of putting copy protection software onto the CD version of the album, as well as installing spyware on computers when transferring data from the disk to ITunes.
The Beastie Boys denied putting copy protection or spyware onto CD copies of To The 5 Boroughs.
These allegations caused the CD version of the album to dip in sales sharply, and was devastating to one member of the trio, Adam "MCA" Yauch.
Who stated: "We put our heart and soul into this album, but I fear my choice to bring politics into the lyrics may just kill the band".
It wasn't until they performed tracks from the album during their Awesome I Fucking Shot That concert at Madison Square Garden on October 9th 2004, that To The 5 Boroughs became accepted by fans
Scoring 71 points on Metacritic, given 4/5 stars by AllMusic and Uncut, earned a B+ from Entertainment Weekly and an A- by The Village Voice, and rated a 7.9/10 by Pitchfork.
Though the album is now celebrated by casual fans of the now defunct group, diehard fans continue to see the album as being the black sheep of the Beastie Boys's discography, due to the political subject matter the album's two controversial tracks conveyed and the allegations that dragged the album further down in the sales charts.