Friday, February 20, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Sexy Armpit


He loves the Beastie Boys and New Jersey. We're gonna be regular pals.

As a fan and fellow Tribesman of the Beastie Boys, I was glad to see a Jersey guy break down the relationship between the group and the Garden State. The connection is obviously much less overt than the Beasties' affinity for their home in Brooklyn, but you always had a feeling that dudes that awesome had to somehow be connected to the Dirty Jers, which I'll remind you again is the unknown cultural center of the universe.

However, I wanted to further dissect the Armpit's discussion, so I decided to do a little research and break down of all the White Castle and New Jersey references on Licensed To Ill. Curiously, there is not a single mention of Harold and Kumar's favorite burger chain on any of the Beasties' other albums. I guess it should be no surprise that Licensed was their biggest hit. Just another testament to the inspirational power of White Castle, and a lesson to you kids - no dream is too big if you set your mind to it and get all hopped up on Slyders. And now, my findings.

The Boys get right to work on the second track, "The New Style," which has the unique distinction of being the only Beastie Boys track to reference both White Castle and New Jersey.
I chill at White Castle 'cause it's the best
But I'm fly at Fat Burger when I'm way out west

You're from Secaucus - I'm from Manhattan
You're jealous of me because your girlfriend is cattin'
They may be interested to know that Fatburger has since expanded, and currently has 1 New York location and 3 in New Jersey, including one in Jersey City, just moments away from Secaucus.

Next, two tracks with no mention of burgers or Garden States, but after that we get references in consecutive tracks. First, on "Slow Ride:"
Because being bad news is what we're all about
We went to White Castle and we got thrown out
Followed by a classic line in "Girls," a favorite of hormonally supercharged 12-year-olds since 1986:
I like the way that they walk
And it's chill to hear them talk
And I can always make them smile
From White Castle to the Nile
Three more tracks until the next White Castle mention ("Fight For Your Right," "No Sleep Til Brooklyn," "Paul Revere" - damn this album is effing awesome). "Hold It Now, Hit It!" features this little nugget:
Down with Mike D. and it ain't no hassle
Got the ladies of the eighties from here to White Castle
I have to admit, I never thought to take a girl to White Castle. I tend to go more for Wendy's types.

Now, the next track, "Brass Monkey" is a Schiff Happens favorite. However, in my years of singing along, especially with this recognizable line:
I drink Brass Monkey and I rock well
I got a Castle in Brooklyn that's where I dwell
I never thought about it this way (thanks to Beastie Boys Lyrics Annotated): "One possible (UPDATE: Sorry, this quote got whited out) interpretation comes from, that at the time this was written, there were no White Castles in Manhattan but there was one in Brooklyn. It could also simply refer to the fact that Yauch is speaking this line from Brooklyn, and a man's home is his castle."
Now that is some clever lyrical analysis! I always figured it was the whole "a man's home is his castle" thing, but considering this was the Beastie Boys' debut album, they weren't exactly rocking out in mansions at the time. The White Castle theory definitely has legs.

Consequently, if we're to accept the above as a White Castle reference, then "Slow and Low" marks the third consecutive track to mention the burger joint. This one happens to be my favorite Beastie Boys White Castle Reference of all time, and yes, I had already come to that conclusion long before this post was even a thought.
We got determination, bass and highs
White Castle fries only come in one size
To me, that just sums up the playful, carefree attitude that the Beastie Boys have always been so about. So what if it's a randomly placed non sequitor? It rhymes, damn it! Unfortunately, this quality may account for the lack of poetic justice that would have come with one final White Castle mention on the final track. Alas, "Time to Get Ill" makes no mention of Slyders or New Jersey, so here's your final tally.

Total White castle references: 5 or 6, depending on your interpretation of the "Brass Monkey" line. Call it 5.5
"White Castle" Frequency: 1 of every 2.36 tracks, or a whopping 42 percent of the songs on Licensed To Ill feature White Castle. After such heavy emphasis on the burger joint in their debut, why was White Castle completely abandoned in every album since? I can't say for sure, but it probably has something to do with this sneaky bugger.
Total New Jersey references: Just the one.
Total White Castle consumed by Harold and Kumar: 60 Slyders, 10 orders of fries, 4 large Cherry Cokes, 4 large Diet Cokes.

*I guess I should probably come clean and admit that even though I am Jersey through and through, I have no love for White Castle. I've been there exactly once, immediately after I saw Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, and I felt extremely dirty because 1) We were completely buying into the whole stupid ploy of a 90-minute product placement flick (don't get it twisted though, I love that movie), and 2) Have you ever actually seen a White Castle Burger?

With that, I believe this delicious dissection is over. Not sure what kind of conclusions we want to draw from this, but I'll be damned if I'm not craving me a burger right now. Just thinking about it makes me wanna burn this mothafucka down. Come on Pookie! Pretty bummed I don't have my Free Whopper coupon with me. What was I thinking not putting it in my wallet immediately? Damn it. Now what am I supposed to eat for lunch?


Jay Amabile said...

dude...thanks for the shout out brutha. loved the article! One thing tho...That dude in the picture is not's a guy named Skullboy who is from Jersey and sells Jersey related Art...people can check him out at

Schiff Happens said...

No problem and no doubt - I figured the Schiff Happens fam would be with it enough to figure that out, although I did almost make that disclaimer myself.