The Beastie Boys 1989 album Paul’s Boutique is without question or argument the GREATEST WORK OF AMERICAN ART of the last 50 years. It is a complete summation of pop music, movies, television and well basically American Culture from 1950-1989 filtered through the genius of 3 New York City brats transplanted to Los Angeles.
Most typical praise of the album centers around the kaleidoscope of samples created by the Beasties and their producers The Dust Brothers. Everything from Elvis and The Beatles to the Isley Brothers and Public Enemy (and hundreds in between) were used to create the albums beats.
But in the Lil’ Dogg’s not so humble opinion, it is the Beastie’s lyrics that truly elevate the album from an extreme example of sampling dexterity to Work of Art status.
Hi-Top has spent basically the last 30 years listening to Paul’s Boutique on repeat. The songs have been ingested, digested, dissected, memorized and canonized. There are some truly truly amazing words uttered throughout the course of Paul’s Boutique and in this newest Hi-Top Feature we will be pulling out and analyzing the classics. First up, Mike D. He’s back from the dead and chilling at Club Med and on Boutique’s 7th Track he drops a stunning word pretzel of a rhyme:
“I’m out of your back door and into another, your boyfriend doesn’t know about me and your mother” – Mike D 3 Minute Rule
Ahhhh Mike D. Without question Michael Diamond has the weakest voice of the 3 Beasties but it’s really not his fault. MCA has arguably the greatest rap voice of all-time and Ad-Rock possesses a shape shifting nasal whine that almost never sounds exactly the same but always sounds interesting. So as the most straightforward “rapper” of the 3 Mike D inevitable comes up short. But what he lacks in vocal talent he more than makes up for in hustle and passion. He’s always come across as the most pure lover of hip- hop, the Beastie quickest to drop some historical knowledge about Busy Bee and Kool Moe Dee. Mike’s raps always felt the most “written” and worked on, which came across as a double edged sword. But here on the opening salvo of 3 Minute Rule Mike D drops a nonsensical gem that completely sums up the entire Beastie Boys motif. It’s clever and funny but also kind of nonsensical. It makes you pause the tape, rewind and listen again and again.
The rhyme starts with an old school Beastie style wink wink sex joke that they sadly matured out of in later years but circa Boutique they were certainly not above such crass fun. Then things get interesting: “Your boyfriend doesn’t know about me and your mother”.
What does that even mean???? Why would the girl’s boyfriend care about Mike D getting with her mother. It’s a dig for sure and guaranteed to get under a henpecked boyfriend’s skin even though it totally shouldn’t. The genius is of course that Mike is implying he’s had his way with the girlfriend and her mother without explicitly saying so.
There are quite a few repeating themes throughout the Beastie’s recording history, jokes and word play that are often returned to, especially in their earliest years. And Girlfriend Stealing was certainly high up on the list. “Girls with boyfriends are the kind I like” MCA famously uttered in the New Style and he wasn’t the only one. All three Beasties often expresses their desire to take your Honey or at least have some fun with her. And for all that boasting it’s Mike D. that takes the Girl Stealing Crown with his line in 3 Minute Rule.
In fact Mike D.’s entire verse on 3 Minute Rule is probably his finest rapping display in the whole Beastie Boys cannon. It’s certainly his best solo turn on the mic with the aptly titled Mike on the Mic a close second.
3 Minute Rule is a tour de force for all three of the Beastie but it’s a rare scene stealing, show stopping moment for Mike D and he’s ready to let your girlfriend and her mother know all about it.