Following a recording hiatus of nearly three years, the Beastie Boys have been driven out of hiding by the need to comment on the scary state of the world.
In the middle of a New York writing and rhyming session for their next album, MCA, Ad-Rock and Mike D hammered out a song called “In a World Gone Mad” which you can download here.
“We all got to a point where we felt like, we’re in this room in New York, we’re looking at each other every day, and we really felt compelled to speak our minds on what exactly we see happening right now,” Mike D said.
The up-tempo song, which features a simple rhythm and rudimentary samples, has the old-school feel of a Run-DMC track. The buoyancy of the beats contrasts with the lyrics, which criticize the Bush administration’s eagerness to attack Iraq: “You build more bombs as you get more bold/ As your mid-life crisis war unfolds/ All you wanna do is take control/ Now put that Axis of Evil bullsh– on hold.”
“None of us feels very comfortable with what Bush is putting forward and the way that Bush is representing the United States, and I don’t think he represents us,” MCA said. “We just felt like if we do have an opportunity to put some ideas out there that a few people might hear, then we should do that. I mean, you just look at the TV and see this guy who’s supposed to be representing us and it just feels ridiculous.”
The Beasties may have been driven to create “In a World Gone Mad” because they felt like Bush was turning a deaf ear to the screaming voices of anti-war protesters, but they said they were also motivated after hearing rumors that artists were discouraged from mentioning the Middle East conflict during the Grammy Awards. After so much disinformation, the Boys decided some old-school learnin’ was in order.
“The majority of people out there seem to link September 11 and Iraq,” Mike D said. “It seems to me that the government hasn’t really put any evidence out there. There hasn’t been a compelling case linking the two, so I think it’s really important to separate them.”
—Jon Wiederhorn, with additional reporting by Gideon Yago