I hated Licensed To Ill (and the Beastie Boys) as a kid. Maybe it was because all of the bullies in middle school liked it/them. Maybe it’s because I was a little music snob and there was something about the perceived inauthenticity of the Beastie Boys that unnerved me. At any rate, my opinion eventually changed. It took nearly two decades (by which time, I was in my early thirties), and parts of Ill are still pretty difficult to listen to, but there are at least two songs on the Beasties’ full-length debut worthy of a five-star rating. “Brass Monkey” is one.
Is “Brass Monkey” a lyrically or musically substantive song? Hell no. It’s a ton of fucking fun, though.
Based on a sample of an obscure minimalist dance song called “Bring It Here” by Wild Sugar, “Brass Monkey” is an old-school party jam about…some kind of liquor. Wikipedia tells me that it’s part rum, part vodka and part orange juice; thus ensuring that as a diabetic I’ll never drink it. Wikipedia also tells me that the drink was pre-mixed and sold in stores, which just sounds gross. New Yorkers in the ‘80s did some gross-ass shit. Brass monkey. Angel dust. Nitrous. Poppers. No, thank you.
(I was at the show recorded below.)