Check Your Head

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Check Your Head
Studio album by The Beastie Boys
Released April 21, 1992
Recorded G-son Studios Atwater Village California, 1991-92
Genre Alternative hip hop, rap rock, jazz-funk, hardcore punk
Length 53:29
Label Capitol
Producer Mario Caldato, Jr.
The Beastie Boys chronology
Paul's Boutique
Check Your Head
Ill Communication
Singles from Check Your Head
  1. "Pass the Mic"
    Released: April 7, 1992
  2. "So What'cha Want"
    Released: June 2, 1992
  3. "Jimmy James"
    Released: August 28, 1992
  4. "Gratitude"
    Released: October 4, 1992
  5. "Professor Booty"
    Released: December 15, 1992

Check Your Head is the third studio album by the Beastie Boys, released on April 21, 1992.

Three years elapsed between the release of Paul's Boutique (the band's second album) and their recording of this album. Check Your Head was recorded at the G-Son Studios in Atwater Village, California in 1991. The album was re-released in 2009 in a number of formats and featured 16 b-sides and rarities as well as a commentary track.[1] The album is extensively broken down track-by-track by Mike D, MCA, Ad-Rock, Mario Caldato Jr., and Money Mark in Brian Coleman's book Check the Technique.[2]


In contrast to their previous album, Paul's Boutique, the Beastie Boys returned somewhat stylistically to their punk rock roots on Check Your Head, playing their own instruments for the first time on record since their early EPs (although they did provide live instrumentation on at least two songs on Paul's Boutique).[3] Hence photographer Glen E. Friedman's idea to shoot photos with their instrument cases (one of which became the cover).[3] Supposedly, a trading card with Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. from a set of Desert Storm trading cards was the inspiration for the title.[3]

The album was their first to be fully co-produced by Mario Caldato Jr. Caldato was an engineer on Paul's Boutique and was credited as producer on that album's track "Ask for Janice".[3] The album also marks the first appearance of longtime collaborator keyboardist Money Mark.[3] The Beastie Boys toured with the Rollins Band and Cypress Hill in early 1992 to support Check Your Head.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[4]
Drowned in Sound 8/10[5]
Entertainment Weekly (1992) D[6]
Entertainment Weekly (2009) A[7]
IGN 7.8/10[8]
Pitchfork Media 6.7/10[9]
PopMatters 9/10[10]
Q 5/5 stars[11]
Robert Christgau (neither)[12]
Rolling Stone (1992) 3.5/5 stars[13]

Rolling Stone gave the album three out of five stars, saying "…their most unconventional outing to date… Beneath the seeming chaos, the Beastie Boys have created a harmonious playground out of their musical fantasies."[13] Spin ranked the album number 12 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s".[14] Spin ranked the album number four in Spin's list of the "20 Best Albums Of The Year".[15] Alternative Press - ranked the album number 23 in AP's list of the "Top 99 Of '85-'95".[16] The Village Voice ranked the album number five in the Village Voice's list of the 40 Best Albums of 1992.[17] Pitchfork Media ranked the album number 34 in Pitchfork Media's list of the Top 100 Albums of the 1990s.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz and Adam Yauch, except as indicated.

No. Title Length
1. "Jimmy James" (Beastie Boys, Caldato) 3:14
2. "Funky Boss" (Beastie Boys, Nishita) 1:35
3. "Pass the Mic" (Beastie Boys, Caldato) 4:17
4. "Gratitude" (Beastie Boys, Cushman) 2:45
5. "Lighten Up" (Beastie Boys, Nishita) 2:41
6. "Finger Lickin' Good" (Beastie Boys, Caldato, Fite, Hill) 3:39
7. "So What'cha Want"   3:37
8. "The Biz vs. The Nuge" (Hall, Nugent) 0:33
9. "Time for Livin'" (Sly & the Family Stone) 1:48
10. "Something's Got to Give" (Beastie Boys, Caldato, Nishita) 3:28
11. "The Blue Nun"   0:32
12. "Stand Together" (Beastie Boys, Caldato) 2:47
13. "POW" (Beastie Boys, Nishita) 2:13
14. "The Maestro"   2:52
15. "Groove Holmes" (Beastie Boys, Nishita) 2:33
16. "Live at P.J.'s" (Beastie Boys, Nishita) 3:18
17. "Mark on the Bus" (Nishita) 1:05
18. "Professor Booty" (Beastie Boys, Caldato) 4:13
19. "In 3's" (Beastie Boys, Nishita) 2:23
20. "Namasté" (Beastie Boys, Nishita) 4:01
Japanese bonus tracks
No. Title Length
21. "Dub the Mic" (Instrumental)  
22. "Drunken Praying Mantis Style"    
23. "Skills to Pay the Bills (Pass the Mic, Pt. 2)"    
24. "Netty's Girl"    
2009 Remastered Edition Bonus Disc
No. Title Length
1. "Dub the Mic" (Instrumental) 4:30
2. "Pass the Mic (Pt. 2, Skills to Pay the Bills)"   4:25
3. "Drunken Praying Mantis Style"   2:40
4. "Netty's Girl"   3:24
5. "The Skills to Pay the Bills" (Original Version) 3:16
6. "So What'cha Want" (Soul Assassins Remix Version) 4:08
7. "So What'cha Want" (Butt Naked Version) 3:29
8. "Groove Holmes" (Live vs The Biz) 6:13
9. "So What'cha Want" (All The Way Live Freestyle Version) 3:39
10. "Stand Together" (Live at French's Tavern, Sydney Australia) 2:32
11. "Finger Lickin' Good" (Government Cheese Remix) 4:15
12. "Gratitude" (Live at Budokan 9-16-92) 4:28
13. "Honky Rink"   2:13
14. "Jimmy James" (Original Original Version) 3:44
15. "Boomin' Granny"   2:18
16. "Drinkin' Wine"   4:42


Beastie Boys:


  • Marcel Hall - Vocals on "The Biz Vs. The Nuge"
  • James Bradley, Jr. – Percussion
  • Drew Lawrence – Percussion
  • Money Mark – Organ, synthesizer, keyboards, clavinet, wurlitzer
  • Art Oliva – Percussion
  • Juanito Vazquez – Percussion, conga, cuica

Technical personnel[edit]


Chart (1992) Peak
US Billboard 200[19] 10
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[20] 37


  1. ^ "Beastie Boys' Check Your Head "special features" posted". 7 April 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2009. 
  2. ^ Coleman, Brian (2007). Check The Technique: Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies. New York: Villard. ISBN 978-0-8129-7775-2. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Coleman, Brian (2007). Check the technique: liner notes for hip-hop junkies. Random House. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-8129-7775-2. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Beastie Boys: Check Your Head > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  5. ^ Slater, Luke (17 April 2009). "Beastie Boys: Check Your Head". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Music Review: Check Your Head, by Beastie Boys". Entertainment Weekly. 1992-05-01. 
  7. ^ "Music Review: Check Your Head (Remastered Edition), by Beastie Boys". Entertainment Weekly. 2009-04-01. 
  8. ^ "Beastie Boys- Check Your Head (Deluxe Reissue) Review - IGN". 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  9. ^ Patrin, Nate (14 April 2009). "Beastie Boys - Check Your Head: Deluxe Edition". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Murphy, Sean (30 April 2009). "Beastie Boys: Check Your Head". Yesterday's Jukebox. PopMatters. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Beastie Boys - Check Your Head CD Album". 1992-04-21. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert. "The Beastie Boys: Check Your Head". Consumer Guide Album. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Powell, Kevin (1996-12-11). "Beastie Boys: Check Your Head". Rolling Stone. ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s". Spin. September 1999. p. 124. 
  15. ^ "20 Best Albums of the Year". Spin. December 1992. p. 67. 
  16. ^ "Top 99 of '85-'95". Alternative Press: 81. July 1995. 
  17. ^ "The 40 Best Albums of 1992". The Village Voice (New York). 2 March 1993. p. 5. 
  18. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of the 1990s". PitchforkMedia. 7 November 2003. 
  19. ^ "Beastie Boys Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Beastie Boys. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  20. ^ "Beastie Boys Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Beastie Boys. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 19, 2013.