Beastie Boys’ ‘Make Some Noise’: A VMA Cheat Sheet

Video of the Year nominee is packed with characters from the Beasties' past.

If they’ve been anything over the course of their near-30-year career, the [artist id="968"]Beastie Boys[/artist] have always been thorough, the kind of band that derives some sort of perverse pleasure from peppering their music with a sundry of pop-culture references, inside jokes and exhaustively sought, expertly placed samples.

And because of that, they’ve managed to create their own rather insular world, the kind of place where Mantan Moreland hangs out with Ted Danson, where Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” rubs elbows with Les Baxter’s “Prelude in C# Minor.” And luckily for all of us, each time they release an album, they pull the curtain back slightly, and invite us in for a drink. So it’s fitting that their “Make Some Noise” clip (which is up for Video of the Year at this Sunday’s VMAs) may very well be the most thorough thing they’ve ever done: a glorious, goofy thing that’s packed with references to their past, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it jokes and more celebrity cameos than Michael Jackson’s “Liberian Girl.”

To wit, it’s certainly the only Video of the Year nominee to have begun life as a 30-minute mini-movie, and it’s the kind of thing that requires repeat viewings to thoroughly enjoy — which, given everything the Beasties packed into it (and the three-decade lead-up to its creation) is sort of the point, really.

Back in April, immediately following its premiere (as a short film called “Fight for Your Right Revisited” ), we compiled an annotated guide to the galaxy of stars who make cameos — a list that includes everyone from Susan Sarandon to Danny Masterson — and the sly references that you might have missed. But now, with the VMAs right around the corner, we’ve gone back and watched “Make Some Noise” again, and boy, are we amazed at the amount of stuff we didn’t catch the first time through.

Then again, such is the beauty of the video (and the Beastie Boys for that matter): They’re always willing to go the extra mile, with delightfully ridiculous results. Here now are even more moments from “Make Some Noise,” a video that takes a look back at the B-Boys’ rather glorious past, and one that, if anything, is definitely thorough.

George Drakoulias
Greek music producer/pal of early Beasties’ collaborator Rick Rubin, Drakoulias was immortalized in a line on the Paul’s Boutique track “Stop That Train” (“Bought a hot dog from who? George Drakoulias”). Fittingly, Drak shows up in “Make Some Noise,” selling Danny McBride’s MCA a street dog. Of course, in typical Beastie fashion, the role is actually played by actor Clint Caluory, and he’s officially credited as “Clint as Zach Galifianakis as George Drakoulias.”

“Hey Ladies”
Paul’s Boutique single that is consistently referenced in the “Make Some Noise” clip, particularly in the limo scene, where driver Will Ferrell sports a gold tooth (a reference to the line “She’s got a gold tooth, you know she’s hard-core”) and bangs on a cowbell (just like the song). The whole thing concludes with the Beasties getting booted from the backseat, just like the line “She’ll show you a good time, then she’ll show you the door.” All that’s missing is a cameo by Sadaharu Oh.

“Hold It, Now Hit It”
Single from the License to Ill era, it’s also referenced during the limo scene, when Mike D (or, you know, Seth Rogen) asks for some LSD-laced breath drops with the line “Pass that over here man, all right!” which, as any Beasties aficionado will tell you, is the same phrase uttered in the song.

Johnny Ryall
Titular star of the Paul’s Boutique track, he’s a homeless man with a rockabilly past and bread-bag shoes. In “Make Some Noise,” he’s played by actor Orlando Bloom, and while the big O isn’t rocking Wonder Bread slip-ons (or hand-me-down Pumas), he does sport a rather nice Def Jam windbreaker. Also displays impressive window-washing skills.

“Shake Your Rump”
Second track on Paul’s Boutique (and, in a lot of ways, the album’s official kickoff), it’s also referenced in the “Make Some Noise” limo scene, when MCA takes a rip off a nitrous-filled balloon, a nod to the line “In the back of the ride and bust with the whippit.”

“She’s Crafty”
Snotty License to Ill track on which the Beasties paid homage to several down-and-dirty females, including one who manages to rob them of all their possessions, including a mirror, a TV, a remote control and a skateboard. In a sublimely meta “Make Some Noise” moment, the Boys return the favor, swiping the skateboard back from a girl played by Adam Yauch’s real life daughter.

Sir Stewart Wallace
International man of mystery portrayed by Yauch in the Beasties’ epochal “Sabotage” video, Wallace shows up for just a second in “Make Some Noise,” piling out of the back of a cab and dropping his briefcase (which appears to be filled with bricks of cocaine) in the process. But this time around, it’s artist/director Mike Mills who steps into Sir Stew’s eternally pressed suit.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments!

The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live Sunday, August 28, from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following the Selena Gomez-hosted pre-show at 8. See the list of nominees, revisit last year’s highlights and vote for Best New Artist by visiting VMA.MTV.com.