"Hey Ladies" - Beastie Boys
from the album Paul's Boutique (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2
Today's song of the day comes from the Brooklyn-based rap trio Beastie Boys, who landed the first rap album to reach #1 on Billboard's albums chart with the seminal Licensed To Ill, and hit the top 10 on the pop chart with "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)". Another single from the set, "Brass Monkey", almost hit the top-40 as well. But of course there was major backlash from the traditional rap community with these three lily-white guys appropriating their sound with high school-age lyrics to become successful. They also were booted from their label after a series of scandals during their tour behind the album. Landing at Capitol Records, the trio set out on a completely different path for their next album, Paul's Boutique. A fugue of samples from a truckload of records were patched together like LEGO pieces instead of any live instruments to form the backdrop for the album, produced by the Dust Brothers (Michael Simpson and John King). The first single from the set, "Hey Ladies", was assembled from a myriad of snippets of songs from the likes of Kool & The Gang, the Commodores, Sweet, Deep Purple, and more. And instead of copping to their former frat-boy personas, or trying to adopt a more common rap pose, the boys came up with the most random video that had ever been shown on MTV - sort of like if Stefon from Saturday Night Live shot a clip in Southern California...
"Hey Ladies" became the Beastie Boys' second top-40 pop hit in September of 1989. The song also found itself crossing over to both the Rap Tracks chart at #10, and the Modern Rock radio chart at #18. The 12" version reached #15 on Billboard's Dance Club Play Chart. Internationally, the single made the top 40 in the Netherlands (#31) and New Zealand (#37), just missed that level in Germany (#43), and was a minor hit in the UK at #76.
Although the Paul's Boutique album by far failed to match the success in sales of their debut album, it would go on to rack up over two million after its reputation as a hip-hop classic grew.
Up tomorrow: A British trio goes forward.