Revisit The Mind-Melting Beastie Boys VHS Classic, Skills To Pay The Bills (Video)
Often living in the shadow of other Beastie Boys releases, Check Your Head is an excellent progression for the New York City trio. The April, 1992 Capitol Records release maintained a chunk of the sampling and technical advancements made on 1989’s Paul’s Boutique, but also welcomed some of the group’s Punk Rock roots and more aggressive mid-’80s Rap style heard on Licensed To Ill, back into the forefront. The work would also commemorate engineer Mario C’s role of group producer, after respective forays with Rick Rubin and The Dust Brothers.
The Beasties took major leaps from album one to album two, three years apart. Album three, six years removed from the debut, somehow brought it all to evolutionary focus. With that idea in mind, and MCA, Ad-Rock, and Mike D being fresh for the ’90s, Capitol Records released a gold-certified VHS “home video” of the group, Skills To Pay The Bills.
Now out of print (replaced by other, more structured Beasties video anthologies), this Summer of ’92 release is a 42-minute trip through the mind of the guys—with rare, behind the scenes footage, inside jokes, and 1982 footage of the band The Young And The Useless, Ad-Rock’s original outfit.
Like listening to Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… on cassette (purple) tape, this VHS format brings life to the Beasties’ archives and videography. One can understand how the three early Def Jam stars might have amassed the best video collection of any single entity of Hip-Hop, given the range, style, and innovation.
If you don’t own a copy of Skills To Pay The Bills, you can still lean back and enjoy this amazing tribute of what now can be called The Beasties’ first act, with 20 years of music to be made and celebrated following this reflective point: