Adam 12

11am - 4pm

Released on April 21, 1992.

One of my all-time favorite albums–and an album that defined the ’90s–Beastie Boys Check Your Head turns 30 today.


To celebrate the 30th anniversary, I’m going to take you track-by-track through the release. Let’s get started.

  • Jimmy James

    “This next one…is the first song…on our new album…” It’s a Cheap Trick sample (from at Budokan) that acts as the opening salvo for the Beastie Boys third full-length.

  • Funky Boss

    Straightaway, the B-Boys let you know that this isn’t just a rap album. They’re breaking out their instruments and getting back to their punk–and, in this case, funk–roots.

  • Pass The Mic

    “Pass The Mic” is Check Your Heads first proper single, released a week before the album dropped. And yes, that flute sample that opens the cut is the one that got the Beasties in a bit of legal hot-water. But it’s the sample of “Big Take Over” by Bad Brains that really makes the song pop.

  • Gratitude

    Did the rock band I fronted in high school cover this song? You bet your ass we did. Such a ripper.

  • Lighten Up

    It’s almost as if Ad Rock, Mike D & MCA were lulling us into a false sense of security with “Funky Boss” and “Gratitude.” Great tracks, yes, but not exactly technically impressive. You get to “Lighten Up” and it’s a bit of an epiphany: the Beastie Boys can actually play their instruments and have a supporting cast in Money Mark and the rest that came to play, too.

  • Finger Lickin' Good

    “My brother Ad Rock, cuttin’ it up on the turntables…” Is there anything this man CAN’T do?!

  • So What'cha Want

    This music video was a revelation. If you were of a certain age in 1992, no dudes looked cooler than the Beastie Boys in their vintage tees and winter hats, jumping around and rapping in an acid-trippy forest.

  • The Biz Vs. The Nuge

    Any time the Beasties brought Biz Markie into the studio was gold.

  • Time For Livin'

    Finally, a hardcore cut for the old school heads that owned those early Beastie Boys seven-inches.

  • Something's Got To Give

    That giant, distorted record-scratch that comes in right around the 2:40 mark? Freaked me out as a kid. Still freaks me out today.

  • The Blue Nun

    Beastie Boys knew the score: it’s ’92, and cassette tapes are still very much the thing. So you throw in a skit to open up Side Two, because that’s what you do.

  • Stand Together

    It’s worth noting, too, the change in tone from earlier Beastie Boys albums. The volume of dick jokes and misogyny was turned way down, and the volume was cranked up on social consciousness. Kind of a big deal for ’92. It’s something 15-year-old me picked up on a little bit, and something I truly appreciate 30 years later.

  • POW

    As a jazz band nerd, the groove on this one really connected with me.

  • The Maestro

    Ad Rock doing Ad Rock things: just shouting and bragging and being loud. He was always my favorite, and not just because we share the same first name. I mean, damn, there were TWO Adams in the band!

  • Groove Holmes

    If you were a radio DJ in the ’90s, you used this as a music bed at some point in your career. I know I did.

  • Live At P.J.'s

    To this day, I’ll still drop the closing line at parties and events: “If you’re driving don’t drink, and if you’re drinking don’t drive.”

  • Mark On The Bus

    “You’re wild, man! Wild!” That Venom sample still kills me to this day.

  • Professor Booty

    And the opening sample from Wild Style? C’mon.

  • In 3's

    Listen to the 3-Way @ 3 weekdays and you’ll hear this one: it’s my theme music! Every good hero should have some.


  • Namaste

    This one always makes me miss MCA.