I drink Brass Monkey and I rock well
I got a Castle in Brooklyn (that’s where I dwell)
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the Beastie Boys‘ debut album Licensed to Ill. Like so many others, I’ve been obsessed with this entire album since 1986, and I always come back to Brass Monkey as one of my top tracks.
Brass Monkey was the second single released from Licensed to Ill with Posse in Effect as the B side. The song reached No. 48 on the Billboard Hot 100, which surprised me; I would have guessed it had charted higher. I remember this song being huge among my circle of friends when Licensed to Ill first came out. Of course, we were teenagers at the time, and I’m sure anything involving partying and alcohol seemed incredibly cool and intriguing, even if we had absolutely no idea at the time exactly what Brass Monkey was. (It was long thought the Beasties were rapping about a combination of malt liquor and orange juice, but in a 2014 interview, Mike D challenged everything we know to be real and true in this world by stating it was actually about a pre-mixed cocktail of dark rum, vodka, and orange juice. Say what?)
The Beasties on vinyl generally doesn’t come cheap. A decent copy of the 7″ release of Brass Monkey goes for about $10, so more expensive than the average $3-$5 many 45s from the 1980s sell for. But it’s $10 well spent. A copy of the funky Monkey belongs in any 80s music collection, in my opinion. You’ll instantly feel like you’re catching a buzz in Brooklyn.