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Production Credits:

Pass the Mic


Click for Lyrics


First Appearance: Check Your Head LP, 21 April 1992
Written by: Beastie Boys and Mario Caldato
Performed by: Beastie Boys
Production Notes: Engineered by Mario Caldato, produced by Beastie Boys and Mario Caldato. Recorded and mixed at G-Son Studios, Atwater Village, CA. Sequenced at PCP Labs.

Behind the Beats and Lyrics...

Samples

  • "Choir" by James Newton from the album Axum (1982)
  • "Big Take Over" by Bad Brains from the album Bad Brains (1982)
  • "So Wat Cha Sayin'" by EPMD from the album Unfinished Business (1989)
  • "I Walk on Guilded Splinters" by Dr. John from the album Gris-Gris (1991)
  • Ron Carter

References

  • Jimmie Walker (1947- ) - a comedian and actor who portrayed ladies-man character J.J. Evans on the 70's television show Good Times
  • Walt "Clyde" Frazier (1945- ) - New York Knick hall-of-famer, nicknamed "Clyde" after well-dressed gangster Clyde Barrow
  • Stevie Wonder (1950- ) - award-winning singer, composer, producer and instrumentalist

Sample & Reference Breakdown

  • "Dy-no-mite!" - sample of Jimmie Walker's trademark phrase
  • "So wat cha sayin'?" - sample of "So Wat Cha Sayin'" by EPMD
  • "I'm like Clyde and I'm rockin' steady" - refers to Walt Frazier's 1974 autobiography Rockin' Steady
  • "You think we'll ever meet Stevie?/One of these days, D" - similar to lyrics from "Dreamin'" by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five ("Hey Flash, do you think we'll ever meet Stevie?/I hope so")

Commentary:

Beastie Boys

"One memorable thing about recording this song was the drums. We had heard that [Led Zeppelin drummer] John Bonham had used a really long kick drum on something and thought it would be interesting to put his technique to the test. Taking full advantage of the size of the G-Son live room/basketball court, we wrapped a long piece of cardboard from a refrigerator box around the kick drum and then put a mic at the far end of it. Mike played the beat, and we looped it. The upright bass line was part of a Ron Carter improvisation that Mario had sampled. I played a little terminator fuzz bass line on the end of the song...but the thing I always liked best about this cut was the sample of the intro to the Bad Brains song 'I.' There's something cool about sampling a hardcore record to make a hip-hop record, especially when that record happens to be the Bad Brains." - Adam Yauch, 1999

Press

"...fuzzadelic bass and great pots-and-pans drum dynamics" - Boston Herald, 1992

"...a putdown of rival rappers" - Newsweek, 1992

"The old school flavored [Pass the Mic] shows and proves that [the Beastie Boys] still have what it takes to make heads nod on the MC'in tip" - The Source, 1992

"[An] old-school-flavored track [that] underscores the group's rhyming skills" - Rolling Stone, 1992

"[Pass the Mic] feature[s] bass from Modern Jazz Quartet and guitar from Bad Brains..." - Alternative Press, July1994

"[Adam] Yauch laments the current state of the art, decrying rappers whose subject matter seemed limited to material acquisitions, and explains something of the journey he and his band mates are undertaking" - excerpted from Rhyming & Stealing: A History of the Beastie Boys by Angus Batey, 1998

 

Released Versions:

Dub the Mic
Dub the Mic (Instrumental)
Pass the Gratitude (Pass the Mic x Gratitude)
Pass the Mic
Pass the Mic (Acappella)
Pass the Mic (Beastie Boys vs. the Beatles)
Pass the Mic (Cheap Cologne Remix)
Pass the Mic (Green Mix)
Pass the Mic (Instrumental)
Pass The Mic (Live)
Pass the Mic (Nardone Mix)

Live:

Performed in 206 known Concerts.

First known Performance:
17-May-1992 : Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, United States

Last known Performance:
12-Jun-2009 : Great Stage Park, Manchester, TN, United States

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