“Hold It Now, Hit It” (1986) — BONUS
The Beastie Boys’ “Hold It Now, Hit It” is hardly the trio’s most clever video, but you can’t have a best-of list that does not include the song that launched them into the national spotlight. This vid mainly features the then-budding rappers goofing around backstage. But Def Jam fans will appreciate the cameo from a vintage — and possibly pre-health guru — Russell Simmons with a potbelly and scruffy beard.
“Three MCs and One DJ” (1999)
Even though this video from the Beastie Boys’s fifth album, “Hello Nasty,” has arguably the longest intro ever (nearly 2 minutes), it was worth the wait. Once Mix Master Mike finally got behind the turntables and started scratching, he kicked off this funky fresh basement jam.
“Root Down” (1995)
Despite their usual over-the-top antics, the Beasties kept it simple in this 1995 tribute to authentic hip-hop, capturing the genre’s core elements — break dancing, graffiti, DJing and MCing.
“Sabotage” is another great Beastie Boys’ video. From their “Ill Communication” album, this thriller is complete with high speed car chases, undercover cops, fight scenes, a literal cliff hanger, and dozens of fake mustaches and donuts.
“(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)” (1987)
The age old storyline of kids throwing wild parties when their parents go out of town never gets old in the world of music videos. It is hard to top this classic from the Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to Ill” album. Watch as every parent’s nightmare unfolds.
“No Sleep till Brooklyn” (1987)
You gotta love the opening scene that shows the Beasties arriving to a concert and being turned away by the promoter because they didn’t look like rockers, forcing them to don wigs and Kiss-like costumes to avoid losing the gig. From their 1986 debut, “Licensed to Ill,” the Beasties provide their usual comedic frat boy party raps over sharp guitar riffs. Judging by the response from the head bangers in the front row, the show was a success.
“Hey Ladies” (1989)
What better way to impress female fans than to reprise the Disco and Funk era with multicolored polyester suits, platform shoes and afro wigs? I would love to see the behind-the-scenes footage from this pick from the Beastie’s sophomore album, “Paul’s Boutique.”
Twenty years before Kanye West released his moving portrait for “Power,” the Beastie Boys reworked live performance footage for the masterful “Shadrach” clip. This art is from their “Paul’s Boutique” album.
Yes, the Black Eyed Pea’s “Transformers” video “Imma Be” is darn cool, but come on, give MCA, Mike D, and Ad-Rock their props. Their “Intergalatic” robot from their “Hello Nasty” album is not only old school, but has fly pop-locking moves and a killer Godzilla-esque fight scene. I miss the 1970s.
“Don’t Play No Game That I Cant Win” (2011)
When I was a kid, if I could have orchestrated my G.I. Joe and “The Six Million Dollar Man” dolls to drive cars, fly helicopters, shoot machine guns and play music — like the Beastie Boys do in their “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” video — I would have been the man. I don’t think it’s too late to turn this video from the Beastie Boys’ “Hot Sauce Committee Part Two” album into a TV series. I would definitely watch it.
“Make Some Noise” (2011)
The video for “Make Some Noise” from 2011 “Hot Sauce Committee Part Two” is brilliant, arguably the best music video of all time. Though MCA, Mike D, and Ad-Rock don’t appear in the clip and are instead portrayed by Elijah Wood, Seth Rogen, and Danny McBride, it does not lack any entertainment value. The actors carry out the Beastie Boys’ legacy perfectly and are joined by an All-Star list of cameos.