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Rush Meets the Beastie Boys in ‘Pass the Mic, Tom’

Rush Beastie Boys
Frazer Harrison / Junko Kimura, Getty Images

The death of Adam “MCA” Yauch on May 4 has gotten all of us to take a trip down the rabbit hole of our favorite Beastie Boys videos. Somewhere between the 70s cop show pastiche of ‘Sabotage‘ and the hormonal silliness of ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)‘ we found this gem. It’s called ‘Pass the Mic, Tom,’ and it’s a mash-up of the vocals from ‘Pass the Mic’ to the music of Rush‘s ‘Tom Sawyer,’ which was recently named No. 48 on our list of the Top 100 Classic Rock Songs.

Mash-ups are mostly a hit-or-miss undertaking, and even the best of them succeed more on the novelty factor than any real lasting quality to them. But ‘Pass the Mic, Tom’ works very well. Alex Lifeson’s power chords give added immediacy to the rapping, and it also brings out Neil Peart’s sense of groove, one of the few aspects of his playing that’s often overlooked. Even the famous time signature changes in the synth break fit in well with the Beasties’ sound.

‘Pass the Mic’ was the first single released from the Beastie Boys’ third album, 1992’s ‘Check Your Head.’ It was their first album that relied more on live instrumentation than samples. ‘Check Your Head’ reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200.

Watch the Rush-Beastie Boys Mash-Up, ‘Pass the Mic, Tom’

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