The heyday of the mashup peaked somewhere in the mid-2000s so loudly that even using the word to describe the consistency of a potato would cause some to cringe. But one facet of mashup culture that hasn't been done to death yet is the idea of interweaving two distinct artists, much like mixtape fiends Mick Boogie and Terry Urban did with 2008's 'Viva La Hova' Coldplay/Jay Z clash, or like Danger Mouse did with the Beatles "White Album" and Jay Z's The Black Album. Something about Jay Z is just irresistably mashable, apparently (we're guessing it has something to do with popularity and epic rap prowess). Another to manipulate The Hova himself was NYC's Max Tanonne with his Jaydiohead experiment (see MTV article) that paired the rapper with Radiohead instrumentals. The Internet spazzed out and the rest is history, bringing us to Tanonne's new project, wherein he sets the Beastie Boys not against some far-flung folk artist or overrated pop group but against themselves with Doublecheck Your Head.
"The concept is that the Beastie Boys are mashed up with themselves, rapping over tracks sampling their own instrumentals, with all vocals and sampled elements coming from Check Your Head," the 22-year-old wrote in an e-mail to us after finishing the project this week.
Having just re-released the mid-90s opus with extras and enhancements and announced new album Hot Sauce Committee featuring a track with Nas, The Boys seem a perfect choice now (thank god no more Jay Z) for such a project. Their own penchance for cutting, scratching, sampling and distorting allows for equal treatment of the music and welcomes another perspective. As a rabid fan, this blogger can assure you there have been some wretched treatments of the group's tracks over the last decade (another mediocre "Intergalactic" remix, anyone?). But Tannone, who has worked in post-production studios, got four of the tracks featured on the official Beastie Boys site -- not a surprise seeing that they're actually good. They're multilayered but not packed too tight, not forced nor overcomplicated. Plus, we can't help but smirk at names like "Booty Groove" and "Pass The Gratitude," track-name mergers as smooth as the mashes themselves. And did we mention they're free? You can't front on that.