Sunday Night Sample - Beastie Boys - The New Style

I blogged about the Beastie Boys documentary that Apple+ did, in 2020, if for some reason you haven't watched it, you have to. 


As shown in the doc, and extremely well known, the Beasties were bigggggg fans of sampling. Along with super producer (then "up-and-coming") Rick Rubin, they took sounds, vocals, and instruments from hundreds of other songs, flipped them, and incorporated them into their own. Essentially creating a new sound from songs prior.

Their Rick Rubin-produced hit ‘The New Style’ contains five samples alone, ncluding tracks from AC/DC and Run-DMC, and the cycle continues – since its release in 1986, ‘The New Style’ has been sampled in nearly 300 different tracks. Artists that have taken elements of the song for their own include Ice Cube, G-Eazy, Jamie Foxx, Outkast, and most recently Travis Scott on Astroworld’s ‘Carousel’.

Both Run DMC and The Beastie Boys were signed to Def Jam records and produced by label owner Rick Rubin. Run-DMC pioneered a flow where their two MCs (Run and DMC) would trade lines back and forth, bucking the convention of each rapper getting a full verse. Their DJ, Jam Master Jay, would use samples, but would typically keep the same loop going throughout the song. Beastie Boys cribbed Run DMC's vocal delivery, but had three MCs to trade off lines. And instead of working one sample as the main beat throughout a song, they would throw in a compost pile of shifting sounds, changing the beat with impunity. It was indeed a new style, made possible by their rampant sampling at a time when the legal issues over clearing samples hadn't been sorted out.

Beastie Boy Mike D called "The New Style" "a fantasy version of our actual lives." They really were hanging out, making music and drinking beer, but they weren't armed or dangerous.

"The New Style" was released as a single in November 1986 around the same time the group's debut album, Licensed To Ill, was issued. Two singles from the album had already been released: "Hold It Now, Hit It" and "Paul Revere." Reaction was positive, and it looked like the group was on their way to landing a Gold record, a huge leap forward, as their previous singles were mostly played in clubs and hadn't sold very well. But then their jokey afterthought song "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)" was released as the next single, and they suddenly went big-time. Soon, they were a headline act and all over MTV. The album went to #1 in America, where it sold a staggering 10 million copies, the equivalent of 20 Gold records.

The "there it is vocal" is a sample from "Peter Piper" from Run-DMC. Other samples include:


"Drop The Bomb" by Trouble Funk (1982)

"Kool Is Back" by Funk, Inc. (1971)

"Two, Three, Break" by The B-Boys (1983)

and AC/DC's "Flick Of The Switch"


In the Beastie Boys Book, Mike D explained: "'The New Style' has a combination of scratches and beats that make the hook. We started making these songs that had no specific connection between the content of the verses and choruses, and I guess we accidentally did end up with a new style."

According to WhoSampled, “The New Style” has been sampled over 230 times, but one of the first big artists to do it was MC Hammer. His 1988 track “Pump It Up (Here’s the News)” tosses in “Mmm… drop” near its conclusion. Four years later, Ice Cube entered the fray. “Check Yo Self,” off his 1992 #1 album The Predator―the same LP that gave us “It Was a Good Day”―naturally samples the phrase “cool check in.” “Check Yo Self” was produced by Cube and Muggs.

In ’95, “The New Style” had its biggest year as a sample, showing up in tracks by two important groups―The Pharcyde and OutKast. The Pharcyde’s “Drop,” off Labcabincalifornia, is the best-known use of “The New Style”―produced by the masterful J Dilla, it uses Ad-Rock’s iconic “drop” as a hook. “Drop” also had an innovative, Spike Jonze-directed music video―featuring the Pharcyde and appearances from Ad-Rock and Mike D, the hit clip went in reverse, and many viewers were left wondering how it was made.

Hip-hop’s obsession with “The New Style” continued in the late ’90s. EPMD’s 1997 joint “Da Joint,” produced by Rockwilder and the group’s Erick Sermon, used the words “over here” repeatedly. And the Beastie Boys got in on the fun, too―”Intergalactic,” off 1998’s Hello Nasty, features Mike D rapping the line “Beastie Boys known to let the beat” followed by a sample of “Mmm… drop.” Both EPMD and the Beasties have sampled “The New Style” elsewhere, too.

Dilla also returned to “The New Style,” on his beloved final album, 2006’s Donuts. “Workinonit” works in a few of Ad-Rock’s words, like “center stage” and “it’s.” And “The New” uses the entire intro from “The New Style” except for the word “style”―“And on the cool check in / Center stage on the mic / And we’re puttin’ it on wax / It’s the new.” It repeats the phrases “puttin’ it on wax” and “it’s the new” later on as well.