When the Beastie Boys Closed Out the ’90s With the Dynamic ‘Hello Nasty’
As much of the pre-millennial pop landscape was mired in self-importance and generic sentiment (Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" and Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" were two of the era's biggest hits), the Beastie Boys returned from a four-year absence on July 14, 1998 just in time to provide one of the most dynamic and vibrant jolts of the decade.
Instead of looking to the past for inspiration like they did when they entered the '90s, the Beastie Boys prepared to exit by pushing toward the future forward full-force. Hello Nasty is an almost encyclopedic anthology of new-school sounds overflowing with robotic synths ("Intergalactic"); glitchy, scratch-laden anthems ("Super Disco Breakin'"); and even spacey Latin flavor ("Body Movin'").
Hello Nasty saw the Beastie Boys work for the first time with DJ Mix Master Mike, and guest appearances were made by Biz Markie, legendary reggae producer Lee "Scratch" Perry and their old friend Jill Cunniff of Luscious Jackson. The extra firepower helped. Hello Nasty topped the Billboard 200 for three weeks in August 1998 and is widely regarded as one of their best albums.
The fact that it won Grammys for both Best Alternative Album and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group is no mistake: Although the rhymes are fluid and the beats are tight, Hello Nasty is hip-hop that transcends genre.
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