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4.7 out of 5 stars148
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on July 1, 1999
"Check Your Head" is, simply, the Beastie Boys' best album. They have done nothing better (only Paul's Boutique comes close) and I find it doubtful they ever will. Although this is awesome to listen to at any time, I personally prefer putting it in my walkman and listening while I'm walking or on the bus. It just puts you in an irrepressable groove. As the Boys say "Life ain't nothin' but a good groove, a good mix tape to put you in the right mood" and that was their intention with this album, which they undoubtedly succeed at. "Pass the Mic", "So Watcha Want", and "Professor Booty" are all hip-hop perfection. They take the genre to its absolute height. All of the other hip-hop songs are excellent too. The instrumentals are better than on any other of their albums, mostly because they're the most funky. I will always love to turn the gain up on my bass amp and play the riff from "Gratitude". This album is also Money Mark's first, and he makes his presence known, ruling most of the instrumentals. I can not say enough good things about this album.
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on October 27, 2000
Well, after you have phenomenal chart success with your first album ("Licensed to Ill") that you will never see again, and you make a cut-and-paste masterpiece with your second album ("Paul's Boutique") that nobody has equaled since, what do you do for the third? Apparently, if you're the Beastie Boys, whatever you want. Ad-Rock, Mike D, and MCA actually picked up their instruments for this album and created a lot of funk and punk instrumentals, and then added some rap along the way. Of the rap songs, the high points are "So What'cha Want", "The Maestro", and "Professor Booty", and some of the non-rap songs that are really great are "Gratitude", "Funky Boss", and "Time For Livin'". Even parts of the album that would normally be filler are interesting: this is the sound of the Beastie Boys expanding their horizons even further. Second only to "Paul's Boutique" (and possibly "Hello Nasty") in the Beastie catalog.
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on March 13, 2004
Though I hate to make this official (because I am no masochist) I may have to proclaim this my favourite Beastie Boys album. Don't get me wrong; Paul's Boutique was good, but a little too profane, you know? I mean, I'm not really into screwing women so that might have something to do with it. Check Your Head, however, is just... Oh man. It is amazing. I'm not into the activist, "oh, man, peace is great and I'm sure one day it will happen because it isn't impossible or anything so let's write 23 songs about it" tracks but in judging the whole album...
I would be lying if I said I wasn't blown away. The Beastie Boys stunned me with just the right amount of sampling, droll verses, and innovative, addictive beats. I got the album over a month ago and it has not yet come out of CD rotation. It is incredible. I love it. Did I mention it's amazing?
"Pass The Mic"? Great. A perfect equilibrium of Beastie goodness.
"Gratitude" (oh man, "Gratitude"!) and "Finger Lickin' Good" are songs that just don't leave your head.
Who couldn't eventually find himself mumbling the lyrics to "What'cha Want"?
And only someone without a soul would be opposed to "The Maestro" or "Live At P.J.'s".
"Mark On The Bus" should please everyone who doesn't like rap, as should "Namasté".
Might I add that "Professor Booty" is really cool?
I didn't even mention everything.
The Beastie Boys had then created a beautiful, flawlessly balanced, and melodious way to coalesce their tastes into one album.
It makes me want to eat yogurt and hop on two or more feet while reading Douglas Adams books and murdering geometric equations.
I love this album.
It will make you a cooler person.
Listen to it.
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on February 21, 2015
Never fully left vinyl, but this was one of the recordings I had purchased on CD originally. The vinyl sounds better to me and all you double blind listening test nerds can pound sand - we will never agree. I don't think every LP sounds better than a digital recording, but this happens to be one of the ones that does to me. With regards to the music, I feel like this recording has a lot of cross genre experimentation, probably less of a pure rap feeling than some of their other recordings. Suffice it to say, if you like the Beastie Boys, this is probably going to be high on your list of favorites. Recommended, whatever medium you prefer to listen to it on.
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on February 15, 2002
Check your Head has to be my favorite Beastie Boy album of all time. In this album, the beastie boys blur the lines between hip-hop, jazz, funk, and rock. All this genre-switching upsets alot of people because their too stupid too realize that the Beastie Boys are far too ecclectic and well versed in music to just stick in one category. What i love about the album is that it's a completely untraditional hip hop album. Since when have you seen people rap and play their own instruments? This album is just another display of their excellent skills as artists. Some favorite songs of mine, are "Pass the Mic" ,"Professor Booty", and "Somethings got to Give".
If you've ever heard of the Bad Brains (a black punk rock group) the Beastie Boys give a nod to them and their own punk rock background by sampling the guitar riff in "pass the Mic".
Other than that, it's a great album in it's own right, and a must if you ever consider getting into the Beastie Boys.
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on July 25, 2015
Everybody knows this is an amazing album. This review and rating is for the remaster. The sound on these records is incredible. There was a lot of love put into this re-release. I immediately went and bought the remasters of Paul's Boutique and Ill Communication. Buy this while you can....the Beastie Boys website is completely sold out of this and the Paul's Boutique anniversary vinyl reissues, which leads me to believe copies may be limited.
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on June 19, 2001
Since everyone in the entire world is stupid except me, and Paul's Boutique was NOT the commercial blockbuster smash that the Beastie Boys' record company had hoped, the boys went back into the studio and thought, "Well, we gotta try SOMETHING new. Otherwise we'll get dropped again and it'll be over for good." So they started playing their own instrunents, something that hadn't been done in rap EVER (at least I can't think of anything off the top of my head that sounds like this). Yes you get several awesome wonderful fuzzed-out riff rockers like "Finger Lickin' Good" and the two MTV megahits "So Whatcha Want," and "Pass The Mic." HOWEVER, you also get some lazy "dub" and "funk" instrumentals like "Lighten Up." Now I know that these instrumentals offer a nice break between the rockers, but the fact remains that there are simply too many of 'em. I also don't really like the Sly Stone cover. But it's only like two minutes long, so as soon as you get sick of it, it's gone.
Coolest sample on the album: RIGHT THERE at the end of "Finger Lickin' Good" the Beastie Boys rap about something and end it with "stuff," and then Bob Dylan's voice comes out of nowhere and sings "I'm goin' back to New York City I do believe I've had enough" (from "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"). A great moment.
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on March 26, 2013
This is one of my favorite Beastie Boys records and I needed to replace my old copy of it. It arrived in perfect, brand new condition, and much sooner than expected. For those who haven't heard it or are considering buying it for the first time, I highly recommend it. A great mix of the funky hip hop fun of Beasties with a bit of jazz and their usual humor as well, and not a bad song on the entire album.I do recommend listening to it in it's entirety in one go, the songs are set up to flow together. I have a few more Beastie Boys and other albums I need to replace and will very likely purchase them from this vendor.
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on January 4, 2005
If you're a Beastie Boys fan, you probably know about the changes they went through. In the 80's alone, they went from a hardcore punk-rock band to a rap group. After the commercial failure "Paul's Boutique" in '89 (even though it was a brilliant record), the Beasties picked up their instruments in '92 and recorded Check Your Head, the album that would secure the popularity of the Beastie Boys once and for all.

With Adrock on guitar, MCA on bass, and Mike D on the drums, the Beasties recorded "Check Your Head", an hour-long album full of witty rhymes, trippy instrumentals and crazy samples. The album starts out with the heavy bassline of "Jimmy James", definately a great opener. The next track, "Funky Boss" is almost the contrary to Jimmy James - very light and funky. After only two tracks, you already notice, "Man, the B-Boys aren't rapping too much in this album". And it's true - rhyming in the album is used quite sparingly compared to their previous albums. The next tracks, "Pass The Mic" is an excellent blend of rock and rap, and "Gratitude" has Adrock screaming over a really nice bassline. Other standouts include the tag-team rhyming on "Finger Lickin' Good", which also containts the funniest Bob Dylan sample I've ever heard, the warped vocals and heavy beats of "So What'Cha Want", the trippy organs on "Groove Holmes", the funky horns on "The Maestro", and the B-Boys showcase their rhymes on "Professor Booty".

If you're a rap fan and not so much a fan of rock, this probably won't be your favourite Beasties record because of the lack of raps on here, and you really have to be a rock fan to appreciate some of the instrumentals on here. The fact is, the Beastie Boys went back to their rock roots without having to give up their clever rhymes, and it paid off dearly for them. Can't forget about the hilarious Biz Markie cameo on "Biz Vs. The Nuge" - that's classic. It's not for everyone, and it's not as accessible as, say, Licensed to Ill, but it's still a four-star classic for sure.
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on May 21, 2004
The first three Beastie Boys CDs were solid masterpieces. I can't decide which of the three is the best--LICENSED TO ILL, PAUL'S BOUTIQUE or, this, CHECK YOUR HEAD. Does it really matter? They're all marvels of funk, rock, and hiphop. What set this CD apart were the jazzy sections, played by the boys themselves (with some critical help on keyboards). For more than a decade, this CD has earned a permanent spot on my tray, and has quite easily held its place on my "What ten albums would I want if I were stuck on an island (preferrably Manhattan island)?" list.
My personal favorites are "So What'chu Want?", "Pass the Mic" and "Something's Got to Give". One of the shining moments to me, as for several other reviewers, is hearing Dylan's voice singing "I'm going back to New York City, I do believe I've had enough" on "Finger-Licking Good". Which brings me to one other observation: The Beastie Boys are to New York as The Beach Boys were to California. CHECK YOUR HEAD, like all other Beastie CDs, is a tribute to their hometown, and they projected an image of it that is uniquely theirs.
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