Realizing the huge vacancy the Beastie Boys were going to leave in their wake, Def Jam quickly maneuvered 3rd Bass into position as the label's next great white rap act. In the Def Jam 10th Anniversary box set liner notes MC Search retells how he first met up with Russell Simmons: "It was the summer of 1988, the club was 'The World' and I was the only white boy in the house. I wanted to rhyme for a living. Russell was by the bar, Newport in one hand, mix drink in the other. I spout some street jargon and begin to James Brown across the floor into his focus. Russell looked at me a little confused, and I said to him, 'I'm the next kid on Def Jam to get you paid.'" By signing 3rd Bass to Def Jam, the message which seemed to have been sent throughout the hip-hop community was that "white hip-hop acts were a manufactured commodity and the Beastie Boys could easily be replaced."
In their 1992 appearance on MTV Sports the Beastie Boys joked that they wanted to challenge Marky Mark to a game of Ultimate Frisbee. Had that interview taken place a few years earlier, the challenge would have likely been extended to MC Search and Pete Nice of 3rd Bass. The rivalry with the Beastie Boys never came close to that between LL Cool J and Kool Moe Dee. However, 3rd Bass' lyrics did lash out at the Beastie Boys for their departure from Def Jam. The lyrics of the song "Sons of 3rd Bass" state it pretty plainly: "Swarm to the lyrics cause Search is your father Screaming "Hey Ladies," why bother?" That line is only the beginning; the song continues with:
Sons, slim ones flee from the 3rd
Words, spoken, a silver spoon stuck in the throat
Young useless, lyrically careless
Rhyme revolves around modes of mindless
If everyone spoke of stick-up, it's pick of a Beast'
prone to a lick of a waste
Taste the flav' of the original
Orphaned trio, abandoned by lyrical
Through us, the echelon exposed with the roll with no soul
Counterfeit style, born sworn and sold
out with high voice distorted
If a Beast' to wish play fetus, I'd have him ABORTED!
So obviously Pete Nice had some disdain for a certain nasal style rapper who once was a member of the Young and the Useless. Remind you of anyone you know? The songwriter's anger is pretty evident in the next stanza as well.
Put to bed, three kids to a third trackstand by em, while they take the fall
Cap the front and grip, when they heard that
the crew from the L.Q. stepped to the Club Mars
Shook the Beast' and soon to be dubbed stars
Starring roles stone-faced from the brothers
Ludicrous whining, meaning when the others
The Beast' now lives in the Capitol
Record wrecks sets, Def Jam a true wrecker
The label is nothing but MC Black'n'Decker
Three boys buggin to the A.M.
You step to the Search and I slam!
The song winds down with still more personal attacks aimed at Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz. The lyrical mention of a "play-writer" was in reference to Adam's father. And, the mention of "dust smoking" is pretty obvious even to the casual listener.
[Nice] You know about that silver spoon havin
buckshot acne showin, L.A. weak-ass sellout
Non-legitimate, tip-doggin, Jethro pseudo intellectual
Dust-smokin, pretty boy playwrite posin
Folks wiggin, whinin annoyin Def Jam reject devil
White bread no money havin slum village people clonin
At first the war of words seemed completely one-sided, with 3rd Bass getting in all the lyrical jabs. Following the release of Paul's Boutique, the media appeared to have selected 3rd Bass as the overall winner. At one point, 3rd Bass was so beloved that MC Search had a reoccurring role judging contestants on the popular MTV game-show Lip Service. The Beastie Boys had the last word though. With the commercial success of Check Your Head (1992), the Beastie Boys were back on top and they did not waste words poking fun at the 3rd Bass member's dance steps. Listen closely to the song "Professor Booty" and you will hear the following:
I'm bad ass move your fat ass 'cause you're wack son
Dancin' around like you think you're Janet Jackson
Thought you could walk on me to get some ground to walk on
I'll pull the rug out under your ass as I talk on
I'll take you out like a sniper on a roof
Like an MC at the Fever in the DJ booth
With your headphones strapped you're rockin' rewind pause
Tryin' to figure out what you can do to go for yours
But like the pencil to the paper I got more to come
One after another you can all get some
So you better take your time and meditate on your rhyme