M.O.P.’s Fame & Heltah Skeltah’s Rock Join A Band For A Menacing Beastie Boys Cover (Video)

On his landmark album 1999 Black on Both Sides, Mos Def (nka Yasiin Bey) staked the claim for “Rock n Roll” being Black Music. “Elvis Presley ain’t got no soul,” he declared, but Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Albert King and “James Brown like to rock and roll.”

To close, Mos shouted out the names of the epicenters of Black America: Harlem, Fort Greene, Compton, East St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, Bed-Stuy, Flatbush, Brownsville, Newark, Illadelphia Cincinnati, Atlanta …– to make the call: “All towns get your punk ass up!…Rock and roll for the Black people.

M.O.P.’s Lil Fame and Rock from Heltah Skeltah have now responded in kind via this cover of the Beasties’ 2009 anthem, “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun,” where they’re guesting with the New York group, Blood Before Pride.

Mash Out Possé can lay claim to a longstanding link with the whole Rock/Rap hybrid thing. Their “Ante Up” remix from 2001 (that has enjoyed a recent revival due to a video of a dad in a car going viral) was pretty hardcore. Plus, they reworked the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep To Brooklyn” back in 2004 on their Mash Out Possé record.

Arguably, the two legends from the N.Y.C Rap scene are lightly utilized here. One can imagine how it might have been if one, the other or both had been let loose to freestyle and re-invent the (cartoonish) menace of the Beasties’ original. Here’s the closing verse: “I am like Clockwork Orange, going off on the town / I’ve got homeboys bonanza to beat your ass down / Well I’m mad at my desk and I’ll be writing all curse words / Expressing my aggressions through my schizophrenic verse words / You’re a headless chicken chasin’, a sucker free-basin’ / Looking for a fist to put your face in / Well get hip get hip, don’t slip ya knuckle heads …”

The track then finishes with the line: “Racism is schism on the serious tip.”  In the end though, this cover of the Beasties’ classic is worth the time – if anything to see how members of New York’s Hip-Hop royalty continue to push themselves forward through a reinvention of the past. As a note, M.O.P. and Rock teamed for “FaxMachine” from the just-released Rockness A.P. (After Price) album.

This cover is a promo look to October 21’s Mimesis, Catharsis, and the Imitation of Art in Life.