The Beastie Boys - An Open Letter To NYC (Parlophone)
UK release date: 6 December 2004
They may not be Boys anymore, but the Beasties are still one of the most cutting-edge bands out there. It's difficult to imagine that, at the height of their notoriety in the UK, they'd end up writing a tribute to their home city that was both touching and kicked the proverbial ass (as they'd say in New York...)
An Open Letter To NYC is the Beasties addressing New York City in the wake of September 11, but avoids all trace of mawkishness. It mentions the tragedy ("I know a lot has changed, 2 towers down but you're still in the game") but prefers to focus on the spirit of their fellow New Yorkers ("Since 9/11 we're still livin' and lovin' life we've been given, Ain't nothing gonna take that away from us"). The sample of The Dead Boys' Sonic Reducer drives the song along relentlessly.
You may be more used to the Beasties fooling around, but this proves they can be sincere as well. One of the best rap records you'll hear all year, you don't have to hail from the 5 boroughs to fully appreciate this celebratory tribute.