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'Hot Sauce Committee Part 2,' Beastie Boys 

They're back, and almost as good as they used to be.

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"I look in the rearview mirror, MC’s ain’t catchin’ up,” raps Beastie Boy Ad Rock, the now 45-year-old Beastie Boy on “Long Burns the Fire.” That’s the kind of boast they’ve been making for, oh, 30 years or so. On one hand, it’s getting ridiculous: This is the first album they’ve actually rapped on in seven full years (and the first good one in 12) — of course other emcees have caught up.

On the other hand, there’s still nobody that does it like the Beastie Boys do. The sound of those three distinct, familiar voices making goofy rhymes over sharp analog beats simply can’t be duplicated. And for the first time in what feels like forever, the elements combine to create the classic sound that calls to mind the unconsciously creative output of the early-to-mid-’90s. Put simply, this is the best, loosest, and most inspired they’ve sounded since Ill Communication.

DOWNLOAD: “Make Some Noise”

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