First Impressions: The 50 Best Album-Opening Songs in Rap History

44. Beastie Boys "Shake Your Rump" (1989)

Producer: Beastie Boys, Dust Brothers, Mario Caldato Jr.
Album: Paul's Boutique
Label: Def Jam


"Shake Your Rump" is the song that rips open the album that ripped open rap music. The delights of Paul's Boutique aren't simply a matter of its endless panoply of samples—it was the sonic possibility of the whole. Paul's was the first orchestral rap album. Its highs are stinging and its lows reverberate. The instrumental sounds don't float by in the background—they ambush you for a tongue kiss. The overall effect is incarnated in a single moment that occurs 40 seconds into "Shake Your Rump." A deejay scratches in a snippet from "It's the Joint" and then the bass noise from Rose Royce's "6 O'Clock DJ" sprays over the entire track. It's the subwoofer equivalent of the moment in "Wizard of Oz" where everything turns to Technicolor, an invitation to every sonic surprise that would unfold over the album's next 50 minutes. Sam Sweet

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