Other rappers used to fault the Beasties for their abrasive, somewhat monochromatic rapping style, and on "Ill Communication," the boys have largely returned to the one-note bray they made famous on their 1986 album, "Licensed to Ill."
With this album, as on 1989's "Paul's Boutique," they are masters of the fun part of hip-hop that many artists have forgotten--the art of swiping bits of music from hundreds of obscure old records and stitching them together into something resembling art. They even manage to manufacture a beat around a second or two of low groans from singing Tibetan monks.
Once again, the Beasties prove they are maybe the 417th best hard-core punk band in the world, and again, they fill out the album with dusted, low-tech instrumentals.
But the Beasties are a lot more ambitious than they'd like you to think they are. The complete, self-referential trash-culture world they create on "Ill Communication" may be on a level with the visions of prime Public Enemy and Nine Inch Nails.