Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

8. Beastie BoysCheck Your Head

They influenced me in that these were middle-class Jewish guys coming and rapping. I already appreciated them, but what really clinched it was that they started to play instruments and all of a sudden there was a connection made for me. Mike Diamond was playing the drums, Ad-Rock was playing the guitar and MCA, rest in peace, was playing the bass and they were able to bridge their music fanboy nature together with being fanboys of rap, and all of that just crystallised it for me. It just literally was an inspiration.

I didn’t rap on an album until quite a while later than this. I didn’t hear it until I moved to Europe, and then I had the luxury of not being in a cultural world that was going to judge me too much for being a rapper, coming from the background I come from. I don’t think I could have done that if I stayed in North America, because the cultural impact of being a rapper is just too great there. So it took me going to Europe to actually do it, but I think the idea had been brewing since the Beastie Boys.

I hear bits of the album now, and of course when MCA died, there was a bit more, you started seeing the videos again, and I have to admit it looked pretty dated, much more than I thought it would. Like I said – rap moves fast, so what the Beastie Boys have done recently, they haven’t really kept up with it. It’s not necessarily an album that I listen to anymore, but, for the time, it was just a huge, massive influence and a crazy ‘a-ha!’ moment.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Tim Burgess, UNKLE, Mark Morriss
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