Over the course of their nearly 30-year career, the Beastie Boys gave us hundreds of genius lyrics. Their knack for obscure references, and rhymes that no one else could possibly think of is why they’re one of the most beloved rap groups of all-time. With that in mind, we’re looking at the funniest lyrics the Beasties have ever come up with. This was a tough list, and certainly not everyone will be satisfied with the rankings, but this was as close to the truth as I could get it. One brief programming note: In order to be eligible, the line has to actually be said by a member of the group, so the mashed potatoes line from “B-Boys Makin’ with the Freak-Freak” is disqualified despite how amazing it is. Okay then, let’s do this!
10. “I am the king of boggle/there is none higher/I get 11 points off the word “quagmire” (From “Putting Shame in Your Game”)
The type of brilliant non-sequitur that made the Beasties so beloved over the years. One can only wonder how they would have fared against Peggy Hill in a boggle tournament.
9. “A sassy/sophisticated/sexy lady/well, I’m 26/and you’re 80” (From “Boomin’ Granny”)
Look, the joke here is pretty simple; it’s a song about liking older women. Sure, it’s a little juvenile, but that’s often when the Beastie Boys are at their best. This was a fairly obscure track until it appeared on the Sounds of Science compilation, but it’s the perfect song for guys who think Mrs. Robinson is a little young for them.
8. “Man, livin’ at home is such a drag/now your mom threw away your best porno mag” (From “Fight for Your Right”)
As the Beastie Boys grew up, and became more socially aware, they likely went on to regret lines like this, but they shouldn’t. This is a hilarious — and accurate — portrayal of life as a bitter, frustrated teenager. The Beasties might not love this one anymore, but it’s one of their most beloved songs, and with good reason.
7. “I got my haircut correct like Anthony Mason/then I ride the I.R.T. right up to Penn Station” (From “B-Boys Makin’ with the Freak-Freak”)
The Beastie Boys were all huge Knicks fans, and as the 1993-94 team was making their run to the Finals, they were recording Ill Communication. This was not the only Knicks shout-out on the album, but was easily the funniest.
6. “I’m a newlywed/I’m not a divorcee/and every thing I do is funky like Lee Dorsey” (From “Sure Shot”)
In this lyrics, Ad-Rock celebrates his marriage to Ione Skye. Of course, he would become a divorcee just a year later when the couple split up, but that doesn’t make the lyric any less genius.
5. “Always go out dapper like Harry S. Truman/I’m madder than M.A.D.‘s Alfred E. Neuman (From “Shadrach”)
This line actually comes from the same verse as another one that made this countdown, proving just how much fire the Beasties were spitting on “Shadrach.” They had an incredible ability to connect people that no one else would ever think to connect, in this case, the 33rd President of the United States, and the mascot for America’s #1 mental illness-themed humor magazine.
4. “I don’t mean to brag/I don’t mean to boast/but I’m intercontinental when I eat French toast” (From “The Move”)
In terms of actual skill, there are plenty of rappers with a better flow than any of the Beastie Boys, but few rappers can match them for sheer cleverness. This, like so many Beasties rhymes, is a very simplistic song structure, but it’s also really, really funny, and instantly memorable. And sometimes, that’s all you need.
3. “Break up with your girl/it ended in tears/Vincent Van Gogh/go mail that ear” (From “Hey, Ladies”)
Okay, seriously, there’s nothing these guys couldn’t make funny. Paul’s Boutique is often considered their best album, and rightfully so. Lyrically, it contained the irreverent attitude of License to Ill with the ambition of later releases. Mostly, though, it just led to a lot of classic lines like this one.
2. “Got an A from Moe Dee for stickin’ to themes” (From “Intergalactic”)
This one is only funny if you know the context behind it. On the back Kool Moe Dee’s album How Ya Like Me Now, he gave out his famous report card, where he rated every other significant hip-hop act of the day on how well they performed in certain categories. The Beastie Boys were the lowest-rated group, getting an overall score of 70, and a C grade. But Moe Dee did give them a perfect score for “sticking to themes,” and the Beastie Boys decided to approach this from a “glass half full” standpoint, focusing on the lone positive aspect of the experience.
1. “I got more stories than J.D.’s got Salinger/I hold the title and you are the challenger” (From “Shadrach”)
Okay, where to begin with this one? First off, it’s a nicely subtle reference to J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories, but even better is the nice lyrical twist. If it had just been “I got more stories than J.D. Salinger,” it still would have been a pretty funny line, but somehow, changing it to “… than J.D.’s got Salinger” turns it into an all-time classic. It makes no sense, and it doesn’t have to, because it’s brilliant.