Local Funk, Rap Artists Collaborate on “Sabotage: A Tribute to the Beastie Boys”

There are few contemporary acts that inspire the trans-demographic, multi-generational devotion of the Beastie Boys, the Brooklyn rap trio whose incorporation of rock, funk and soul left an indelible mark on the face of modern hip-hop.

Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys in 1986. Photo by Lynn Goldsmith.

This Saturday night, the group will be re-imagined through a New Orleans lens with “Sabotage: A Tribute to the Beastie Boys” at One Eyed Jacks. The concert features an all-star lineup of local musicians and MCs, including members of Flow Tribe, Gravity A, and Empress Hotel.

“We’ve got every corner covered,” Flow Tribe’s K.C. O’Rorke says of the collective he and Nick “Jermaine Quiz” Pino brought together for the event. “It’s really cool to get this diverse group of people who are all friends and hang out socially and put something together that’s kind of outside our respective groups.”

The tribute, which also features Koan, M@ Peoples and James Martin, will take place Saturday, July 14 at One Eyed Jacks and again on July 20, at the Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge. Opening for the event will be the Brass Monkey String Quintet, as well as Empress Hotel’s Micah McKee covering Beastie Boys songs acoustically.

Over months of practice sessions, which included both line readings for the MC parts as well as full band rehearsals, connections between the Beasties and New Orleans began to emerge. “A lot of their influences…I mean, they talk about Lee Dorsey and Dr. John,” O’Rorke explains. “We’ve been going through the lyrics just being like, wow, this is amazing.”

For rapper Koan, this will not be the first time performing a Beastie Boys song live. “When I was young I played alto saxophone, and I remember when I first heard “Brass Monkey” and they’ve got that saxophone…I learned how to play that part on the horn and I played it for like the next 15 years, just on the porch over and over and over.”

While O’Rorke and Pino began planning the concert in early April, the significance of the concert was heightened after news of the death of Beastie Boys member Adam “MCA” Yauch in early May. “We realized we really needed to bring it,” Pino says. “We knew we really needed to take time and learn and really study.”

The resulting concert will incorporate multimedia displays as well as multiple costume changes, and aims to be both an homage to the band as well as a theatrical performance. “I wake up with Beastie Boys in my head, go to sleep with Beastie Boys in my head,” Pino says of preparing for the tribute. “What other hip-hop artists really span so many decades?”

“We don’t want to give away too many secrets, but we’re going to play ‘Sabotage’.”