When December rolls around, of all the days of the year, I imagine I will remember last Friday pretty well. I have not felt the kind of sadness I felt when Craig called from New Orleans to make sure I knew that Adam Yauch, MCA of the Beastie Boys, had died in a while. (I didn't know.)
Losing Levon Helm also hurt, but MCA's death especially stung because I remember specifically staying up late to watch "Fight for Your Right" on Friday Night Videos in sixth grade. (No MTV, this one.) Some years later, my friend Bill played me Check Your Head in his car. I thought, "wow, they've really changed," and became a fan for life.
I imagine MCA could have been my older brother, if my older brother was a wisecracking vegan Buddhist from Brooklyn. I did not imagine that earlier this week, I would get a press kit from Metro announcing the return of their young rapping spokespeople The Transit Boyz, who first made a splash in 2010 with "How We Roll," a video designed to get young people to think of public transportation in a good way.
I should add that the Transit Boyz are puppets, and explicitly patterned after the Beastie Boys. Sometimes a panda follows them around like DJ Hurricane. The video for "How We Roll" starred live humans, so the Transit Boyz may have been replaced by puppets. I hope so.
Now the Transit Boyz are back with a new CD, The Return Trip, and first single "Ballad of the Boyz." Unfortunately, it's only available as a promotional item, but I am going to make it my mission in life (at least for a little while) to get this sucker released commercially. People need to see this.
So far Metro has only released two videos, for "How We Roll" and "Ballad of the Boyz." This CD has three more songs -- "Making Tracks," "We Ride the Bus" and "Ride the Lane" -- so hopefully there's more to come. (That makes it more of an EP, I suppose, but whatever.)
Here's what they've accomplished so far. I imagine MCA would approve.
"How We Roll"
Similar Beastie Boys Song(s): "Rhymin' and Stealin'"; "Hold It Now, Hit It"
Identifiable Houston Locations: Texas Medical Center transit center, Metro headquarters/main bus station
Sample Rhyme: "Swiftline gets you from the SE / Ridin' on the quickline to the TMC"
Message: Metro buses are state of the art, and can take you anywhere in the city you could possibly want to go.
Does the Panda Make an Appearance? No
"Ballad of the Boyz"
Similar Beastie Boys Song(s): "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn"
Identifiable Houston Locations: Main Street Square Metrorail station; downtown skyline (from top of unnamed office building); Metro headquarters/main bus station
Sample Rhyme: "Yall, mom's on the phone, can we stay? She says no / Gotta hit the road before she takes our Nintendo"
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Message: Metro is an acceptable means for the Transit Boyz to get to their next gig; people still play Nintendo, apparently
Does the Panda Make an Appearance? Yes