“Get It Together” by The Beastie Boys feat. Q-Tip (1994)

I’m pretty sure Q-Tip was the first featured rapper on a Beastie Boys track, and that’s gotta count for something. Even though I want to knock “Get It Together” down half a point for Tip’s repeated use of the word “nigga” on a track where the main artists are three white dudes, the song is so effervescent and fun, I can pretty much forgive it. Also, I remember reading somewhere that Tip was drunk or high or both when he recorded it. Not to use that as an excuse, but…

“Get It Together” is tossed off in the most lovable of ways; it’s pretty clear that this was pretty much a freestyle. And usually freestyles don’t make for good records. But it was refreshing at the time to hear the normally serious Q-Tip on a song that was so silly. Plus, as dope as the Beasties are, Tip gets all the best lines. There’s “phone is ringing/oh my God” (which was very quickly turned into my roommate at the time’s answering machine message). There’s the rhyming of “Ione” (as in Ione Skye, Adam Horovitz’s then-wife) with “both of them is bony”, “Chachi and Joanie” and “she’s the cheese and I’m the macaroni”. There’s the John Holmes shoutout. And there’s the Eugene McDaniels sample that eventually led to me purchasing Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse, which is a damn good album. Oh, I forgot “I got heart like John Starks”-shouts out to the 1994 Knicks. And then un-shout out to the 1994 Knicks because they ruined like a solid week of my life by choking in the NBA Finals.

Ill Communication gets the nod as my second favorite Beastie Boys album (Paul’s Boutique is in a class by itself), and “Get It Together” (one of the defining songs of summer ’94, which represented my first few months living on my own) is a big reason why.

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