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Music / Paul's Boutique

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You be listenin' to my records', a number one sound
Step to the rhythm, step, step to the rhyme
I've got an open mind, so why don't you all get inside?

"Don't go anywhere without it. It's one of those records that you buy every time you're in a rental car. It's also one of those records that you thought sucked the day you bought it. You were mad because it sounded nothing like Licensed to Ill. Then a month later, you're like, 'This is the best shit ever. 'High Plains Drifter' is the best song ever made.'"
Chris Rock, who placed "Paul's Boutique" on nr. 8 in his personal list of 25 Best Hip-Hop albums, published in Rolling Stone, 2006.

"The dirty secret in the rap community is that Paul's Boutique has the best beats."

Paul's Boutique is a 1989 album by Beastie Boys, second in their catalog and the Even Better Sequel to their already promising debut Licensed to Ill (1986).

The group's debut had made the band synonymous with pubertal "party boy music". This image eventually hung like an albatross around their necks, mostly due to people who didn't get the satire. Wanting to grow past this perception, Beastie Boys decided to make their next album more mature and put the focus back on their musical skills. They even vetoed the idea of promoting the record, assured by the idea that their true fans would find it in the stores and appreciate the record on its own merits, alienating all the people who didn't look further than their "frat house" gimmick.

Compare with Beck's Odelay, which was made by the same producers (Dust Brothers) and has a similar, sample-heavy production style.


Side One
  1. "To All the Girls" (1:29)
  2. "Shake Your Rump" (3:19)
  3. "Johnny Ryall" (3:00)
  4. "Egg Man" (2:57)
  5. "High Plains Drifter" (4:13)
  6. "The Sounds of Science" (3:11)
  7. "3-Minute Rule" (3:39)
  8. "Hey Ladies" (3:47)

Side Two

  1. "5-Piece Chicken Dinner" (0:23)
  2. "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" (3:28)
  3. "Car Thief" (3:39)
  4. "What Comes Around" (3:07)
  5. "Shadrach" (4:07)
  6. "Ask for Janice" (0:11)
  7. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" (12:33)

B-Boy Troping

  • Album Intro Track: "To All the Girls".
  • Album Title Drop: "Ask For Janice".
    The best in men's clothing
    Call Paul's Boutique, ask for Janice
    The number is, ah, 718-498-1043
    That's Paul's Boutique, and they're in Brooklyn
  • Alliterative Name: "A Year and a Day".
    He goes by the name of the D-D-D-Disco Dave
  • Alliterative Title: "B-Boy Bouillabaisse", "The Sounds of Science".
  • all lowercase letters: The album and band title are in small lettertype.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Subverted by "Hey Ladies", where the boys actually reject a lot of ladies.
  • Alternative Hip Hop: This album saw the band move into this genre.
  • Animated Music Video: "Shadrach" 's music video was animated by Klasky-Csupo.
  • As the Good Book Says...: "Shadrach" has a few biblical references. It also namedrops the biblical characters Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego. In the Bible’s “Book of Daniel,” they are saved by divine intervention from the Babylonian execution of being burned alive in a fiery cauldron. Yahweh protects them and they emerge from the furnace unharmed. As a result, the king decrees that the entire kingdom worship the Jewish god.
    Who shall inherit the Earth? The meek shall.
  • Big Applesauce:
    • "Hey Ladies".
    'There never was a city kid truer and bluer''
    • "Stop That Train" namedrops several places in New York, including "El Barrio" and "Orange Julius".
  • Boastful Rap: "Hey Ladies"
    And I got more hits than Sadaharu Oh
  • Bookends: The album's finale, "B-Boy Bouillabaisse", ends with a brief reprisal of the opening track, "To All the Girls".
  • Call-Back:
    • The song "AWOL" was alluded to earlier on Licensed to Ill during the song "Rhymin' and Stealin'"
    Because the Beastie Boys have gone AWOL
    • "Johnny Ryall" has a sample from "The New Style", also from their debut album.
    • "Egg Man" includes part of their similarly-themed, early Hardcore Punk song "Egg Raid on Mojo" as Recycled Lyrics - This time instead of Mojo, the victim of their egging is "Haze", this being a Shout-Out to Eric Haze, a graffiti artist and later graphic designer who worked with the group.
  • Continuity Nod: "Egg Man" is alluded again in "The Sounds of Science", where the line "and the eggs that I eat" is rapped.
  • Corpsing: At the end of "What Comes Around", while the guys are ad-libbing, Ad-Rock says "Doris the Finkosaurus", and the other guys laugh.
  • Epic Rocking: The twelve-and-a-half minute-long "B-Boy Bouillabaisse", a suite composed of nine movements.
  • Fading into the Next Song: The entire CD does this; the LP version does as well, apart from the side division.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • "Johnny Ryall"
    Donald Trump and Donald Tramp living in the men's shelter
    • "Egg Man"
    My name's "Yauch" and I'm throwing the yolk
    • "Hello Brooklyn" from "B-Boy Bouillabaisse"
    I'm broader than Broadway
  • If I Had a Nickel...: "Shadrach"
    If had a penny for my thoughts, I'd be a millionaire
  • Just Like Robin Hood: "Shadrach"
    Steal from the rich and I'm out robbing banks
    Give to the poor and I always give thanks
  • Lampshading: "3-Minute Rule" uses the grammatically incorrect "me and my mother", which, according to the rules on compound objects, should be "your mother and me". But the band is aware of this:
    Your boyfriend doesn't know about me and your mother
    Not perfect grammar, always perfect timing
  • List Song: The opening track "To All the Girls", which lists different kinds of women based on nationality and sometimes occupation.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Car Thief", from Paul's Boutique is based chiefly on a mellow, slightly psychedelic sample from the funk song "Rien Ne Va Plus" by Funk Factory. The first verse begins by describing smashing somebody's face with a cue ball, moving on to general destruction, and then extensive discussions on what substances the Beasties enjoy smoking.
  • Miniscule Rocking:
    • "5-Piece Chicken Dinner" is 23 seconds long.
    • "To All the Girls" is 1.5 minutes long.
    • "Ask for Janice" is 11 seconds long.
  • Mood Whiplash: "5-Piece Chicken Dinner": 23 seconds of hooping, hollering, country fiddle and Deliverance samples between hiphop songs.
  • Music Is Politics: "Shadrach" is a Take That! against their former label and proves their creative independence.
    They tell us what to do? Hell no!
  • New Sound Album: This album proved that they were more than a one-hit wonder. It also showed a more mature side - as mature the band would ever get - with the track "To All the Girls", where they provide a homage to women without being as sexist and juvenile as on their previous record.
  • Ode to Intoxication:
    • "3-Minute Rule"
    Yeah, I smoke cheeba, it helps me with my brain
    I might be a little dusted, but I'm not insane
    • "Car Thief"
    Right now, I wish I had another hash brownie
    (...) I had a beautiful experience on ecstasy
    I smoked up a bag of elephant tranquilizer
    Because I had to deal with a money-hungry miser
    Had a caine filled Kool with my man, Rush Rush
    Saw my teeth fall in the sink when I started to brush
    You be doing nose candy on the Bowie coke mirror
  • One-Man Song: "Johnny Ryall", "Egg Man".
  • One-Word Title: "Shadrach"
  • Perpetual Poverty: "Johnny Ryall", about a real-life homeless New Yorker with that name.
  • Product Placement: The album cover in itself shows a store, with advertisements everywhere.
    • "Johnny Ryall"
    He knows the time with the fresh Gucci watch
    (..) He's got the hand me down Puma's
    (...) Luis Vuitton with the Gucci guitar
    • "High Plains Drifter"
    I reached behind the seat and snatched a Kool from the pack
    Takin' care of business at 7-eleven
    Cause I'm mellow like Jell-O
    (...) I'm phony-paper passing at Nix Check cashing
    • "3-Minute Rule"
    (...) But you're lookin' so fly inside your BMW
    (...) Proud Mary keeps on turning and rolling like a Ring-Ding
    (...)You be driving around Hollywood with "Yo, Sorry Charlie" note 
    • "Hey Ladies" mention Coupe de Ville
    Makin' love in the back of my Coupe de Ville
    • "What Comes Around" references press-on Lee nails.
    With three-inch, cherry red, press-on Lee nails
    • "Shadrach"
    More Adidas sneakers than a plumber's got pliers
    Got more suites than Jacoby & Meyers
    (...) My year would be good just like Goodyear's tires
    Got the girlies in the coupe, like the Colonel's got chickens note 
    (...) Because the bass is bumping from the back of my Fleetwood
    • And then there is the literal advertising soundbite in "Ask for Janice".
    The best in men's clothing
    Call Paul's Boutique, ask for Janice
    The number is, ah, 718-498-1043
    That's Paul's Boutique, and they're in Brooklyn
    • "B-Boy Bouillabaisse"
    Go to the movies, get the Rolos
    (...) The neck, tortoise, your Lees are creased note 
    Hot cup of coffee and the donuts are Dunkin
    (...) Sat across from a man readin' El Diario
    (...) Mix the bass ale with the Guinness Stout
    (...)Cause I got more flavor than Fruit Stripe Gum
  • Pun-Based Title: "The Sounds of Science" is a pun on "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel. "Mike on the Mic" from "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" is another one.
  • Record Producer: The band themselves, along with the Dust Brothers and Mario Caldato, Jr.
  • Rhyming with Itself: In "Hey Ladies":
    Walking high and high like she's number one
    Sample: She thinks she's the passionate one!
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: The line "I'm Mike D and I'm back from the dead, chilling at the beach, down at Club Med" in "Shake Your Rump" was written as a response to an Urban Legend that Mike D had passed away from a drug overdose.
  • Rule of Three: "3-Minute Rule", which is actually 3 minutes and 39 seconds long.
  • Running Gag: There was a cheese surplus in New York, where the government handed out cheese to beggars and they would sell those back to the delis. This became a running gag with the Beasties, referring to "bum cheese" several times on their albums.
  • Sampling:
    • "Shake Your Rump" has a truckload of samples from Alphonse Mouzon's "Funky Snakefoot", Rose Royce's "Daddy Rich", "Born to Love You" and "Yo Yo", Harvey Scales' "Dancing Room Only", "That's the Joint" by Funky Four Plus One, Bob Marley's "Could You Be Loved" from Uprising, "8th Wonder" by The Sugarhill Gang, "Jazzy Sensation" by Afrika Bambaataa, "Tell Me Something Good" by Ronnie Laws, "Supermellow" by Paul Humphrey, Willie Bobo, Shelly Manne & Louis Bellson, "Get Off" by Focy, "Holy Ghost" by the Bar-Kays, "Good Times Bad Times" from Led Zeppelin I, "No Matter What Sign You Are" by Diana Ross and "Unity" by James Brown and Afrika Bambaataa.
    • "Johnny Ryall" takes samples from "One of These Days" by Pink Floyd from Meddle, "Mr. Big Stuff" by Jean Knight, the Beastie Boys songs "Fight for Your Right" and "The New Style" from Licensed to Ill, "AJ Scratch" by Kurtis Blow, "Momma Miss America" from Paul McCartney's McCartney, "Military Cut-Scratch Mix" by DJ Grand Wizard, "Sharon" by David Bromberg and "Magnificent Sanctuary Band" by Donny Hathaway.
    • "Egg Man" samples "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield, "You're Gonna Get Yours" and "Bring the Noise" from Public Enemy note , "Get Off Your Ass and Jam" by Funkadelic, from Lets Take It To The Stage (1975), "Dance to the Music" by Sly and the Family Stone, "Drop It in the Slot" by Tower Of Power, "Pump It Up" from Elvis Costello's This Year's Model, "I'm Ready" by The Commodores, "Sport" by Lightnin' Rod and excerpts from the soundtracks of Psycho, Cheech & Chong's "Next Movie" and Jaws.
    • "High Plains Drifter" samples from "Those Shoes" by The Eagles, "Your Mama Don't Dance" by Loggins And Messina, "Suzy Is A Headbanger" from The Ramones' Leave Home and "Put Your Love" by the Fatback Band.
    • "The Sounds of Science" borrows samples from "Back in the USSR" (The White Album), "When I'm 64", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and its reprise (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), "The End" (Abbey Road) by The Beatles, "Walk from Regio's" by Isaac Hayes from the soundtrack of Shaft, "My Philosophy" by Boogie Down Productions, "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" by James Brown and "Don't Sniff Coke" by Pato Banton.
    • "3 Minute Rule" samples "Brave & Strong" by Sly and the Family Stone from "There's a Riot Goin' On" and "Feel Good" by Fancy.
    • "Hey Ladies" samples "Party Time" by Kurtis Blow, "Ain't It Funky Now" and "Funky President" by James Brown, "Breakdance - Electric Boogie" by the West Street Mob, "Foxy Lady" by Jimi Hendrix from Are You Experienced, "The Ballroom Blitz" by Sweet, "Machine Gun" by the Commodores, "Shake Your Pants" by Cameo, "Holy Ghost" by the Bar-Kays, "Jazzy Sensation" by Afrika Bambaataa, "Jungle Boogie" by Kool & the Gang, "So Ruff, So Tuff" by Zapp & Roger, "Dance Floor" by Zapp, "Come Let Me Love You" by Jeanette "Lady" Day, "Change the Beat" by Fab 5 Freddy, "Pumpin' It Up" by the P-Funk All Stars.
    • "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" uses samples from "Time" from Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, "Put Your Hand in the Hand" by Ocean, "Mississippi Queen" by Mountain, "Last Bongo in Belgium" by The Incredible Bongo Band.
    • "Car Thief" samples "Rien ne va plus", "I Bet You" by Funkadelic from the album "Funkadelic" (1970), "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan, "Woodstock" by Max Yasgur and "Drop the Bomb" by Trouble Funk.
    • "What Comes Around" includes samples from "Put on Train" by Gene Harris, "Moby Dick" from Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin II, "It's Hot Tonight" by Alice Cooper.
    • "Shadrach" samples "Do Your Dance" by Rose Royce, "Loose Booty" by Sly and the Family Stone, "Hot and Nasty" by Black Oak Arkansas, "Never Let 'Em Say" by Ballin' Jack, "King Tim III" by the Fatback Band, "That's the Joint" by Funky Four Plus One, "Good to Go" by Trouble Funk, "Funky Drummer" by James Brown, "Sugarhill Groove" by The Sugarhill Gang.
    • "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" is brimful of samples, including "Burundi Black (Pt. 2)" by Burundi Black, "Here We Go" by Run–D.M.C., "Are You Experienced?" by Jimi Hendrix from Are You Experienced, "Change the Beat" by Fab 5 Freddy, "My Philosophy" by Boogie Down Productions, "Buffalo Gals" by Malcolm McLaren & the World's Famous Supreme Team, "At the Fever" by Lovebug Starski, "Draw Your Brakes" by Scotty, "Stop That Train" by Keith & Tex, "Ebony Jam" by Tower of Power, "Who's That Lady?" by the Isley Brothers, "When the Levee Breaks" from Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin IV, "High Power Rap" by Disco Dave and the Force of the 5 MC's, "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash, "Breathe" from The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, "Into the Night" by Sweet, a 1979 Bob Marley interview, "Hey Pocky A-Way" by the Meters, "The Well's Gone Dry" by the Crusaders, "Ebony Jam" by Tower of Power, "Let the Music Take Your Mind" by Kool & the Gang, "Southern Comfort" by the Crusaders, "At the Fever" by Love Bug Starski, a weather forecast by Lloyd Lindsey Young, "Good Times" by Chic, "Good to Go" by Trouble Funk
  • Shout-Out:
    Like Sam the butcher bringing Alice the meat
    Like Fred Flintstone, driving around with bald feet
    He claims that he wrote the Blue Suede Shoes
    Elvis shaved his head when he went into the army
    I go to sleep watching "Dragnet"
    (...) I'm so rope, they call me Mr. Roper
    Get over on Miss Crabtree like my main man Spankee
    Proud Mary keeps on turning and rolling like a Ring-Ding
    (...) Doo-wah Diddy and bust in with the pre-roll
    (...) Roses are red, the sky is blue
    (...) I'm just chillin', like Bob Dylan
    (...) While I'm reading "On the Road", by my man Jack Kerouac
    Mothership connection, gettings girls' affection
    And I got more hits than Sadaharu Oh
    Tom Thumb, Tom Cushman or Tom Foolery
    Date women on TV with the help of Chuck Woolery
    (...) Well me, in the corner with a good-lookin' daughter
    I dropped my drawers and said: "Welcome back Kotter".
    I'm not James At 15 or Chachi in charge
    Vincent Van Gogh, go and mail that ear
    (...)Tune in, turn on, to my tune that's live
    • "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" references hiphop DJ Chuck Chillout, Rambo, Bruce Willis and serial killer Son of Sam
    He had more cuts than my man, Chuck Chillout
    (...) Rapid fire Louie, like Rambo got bullets
    I'm a die harder, like my kid Bruce Willis
    (...) You got your finger on the trigger like the Son of Sam
    (...) Ultraviolence be running through my head
    (...) Like Clockwork Orange, going off on the town
    • It also references "Funky Cold Medina", a hit earlier that year for Tone Lōc.
    Cold Medina, y'all making me see red.
    I'm a writer, a poet, a genius, I know it
    (...) You be doing nose candy on the Bowie coke mirror
    (...) The Godfather of Soul in the belly of the beast
    I'm a dusted old bummy Hurdy Gurdy Man
    • The Blaxploitation classic Dolemite is referenced in "B-Boy Bouillabaisse", "Egg Man", as well as "What Comes Around" note 
    They call me Mike D., Joe Blow, the Lover Man
    (...) Rat soup eating, test cheating, no business punk
    You're insecure, born in the junkyard with the junk
    Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair
    So I can climb up and get into your underwear
    (...) Yo, why'd you throw that chair at Gerald Rivera, man?
    (...) Got more Louie than Phillip Rizzuto
    (...)Doris the Finkasaurus
    Riddle me this, my brother
    (...)For those about to rock, we salute you
    I once was lost but now I'm found
    (...) Al from S.S. Decontrol and the man upstairs, I hope that he cares
    (...) And now we're gonna bust with the Putney Swope sequel
    Like pulling a Rambo
    (...) Because I've got more stories than J.D.'s got Salinger
    (...) I've got money like Charles Dickens
    (...) And I'm always going out dapper like Harry S. Truman
    I'm madder than Mad's Alfred E. Neuman
    Check the funky dope musicians
    Like Jerry Lee Swaggart and Jerry Lee Falwell
    You love Mario Andretti cause he always drives his car well
    • "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" references American footballer Dick Butkus, jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton and Big Daddy Kane's "On the Bugged Tip" note , Star Trek: The Original Series, subway shooter Bernhard Goetz, rapper Special Ed, On the Town, Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" note , Curt Siodmak's Donovans Brain note , American basketball player Harthorne Wingo, Napoléon Bonaparte, painter Paul Cézanne and actor Raymond Burr (Perry Mason and Ironside (1967)).
    And you're Dick Butkus
    One half science and another half soul
    Nicknamed Mike D., not Fat Morton Jelly Roll
    (...) Get on the mic cause you know you eat shellfish
    And you'll be pullin' a train like you're Captain Kirk
    (...)I caught a bullet in the lung from Bernhard Goetz
    (...)Speak my knowledge to the crowd, and the Ed is special
    (...) New York, New York - it's a hell of a town
    You know the Bronx is up, and I'm Brooklyn down
    (...) I shot a man in Brooklyn, just to watch him die
    He thrusts his fists against the post and still insists he sees a ghost
    My favorite New York Knick was Harthorne Wingo
    Met a girl at a party and I gave her my card
    Man, you know that it said Napoleon Bonaparte
    Peepin' out the colors, I be buggin' on Cézanne
    (...) Ride around town like I'm Raymond Burr
  • Singer Name Drop: Like any other rapper, all over the abum.
  • Spoken Word in Music: "Ask for Janice" is a woman talking. "Dropping Names" from "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" has the following quote from a Bob Marley interview from 1979:
    Ya explain to a musician
    Them knew it, but them can't do it
  • Urban Legend: It's often thought that the samples caused the band legal problems because they were done without permission, but in reality all of them were cleared.
  • Wall of Text: The lyrics are printed like this in the liner notes and uses pictures of fish to indicate where certain songs begin.