“Get It Together” is a 1994 single by the Beastie Boys, released in support of their ’94 album, Ill Communication. It’s a collaboration with Q-Tip that avoids the pitfalls of modern collaborations. Rather than simply tacking on a verse to the end of the song, Q-Tip and the Beasties spend the song trading off verses and bizarre adlibs in a refreshingly loose fashion. Tip is clearly freestyling his lyrics and Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock go with the flow, shouting adlibs and playing off his verses.
The Beastie Boys produce the track with shuffling drums, creepy, plinking keys, and an ominous, buzzing low end provided by a Moog. Zilla rightly points out that it sounds exactly like an album cut Tip might have produced for Nas or Mobb Deep. For the chorus, the Beasties scratch in a sample of Eugene McDaniels crooning, taken from the latter’s sample staple, “Headless Heroes.”
Get it together/See what’s happening
My favorite part is when Q-Tip screws up his verse at about 3:12 and the Beasties turn it into a chant:
Oh…One-two-Oh my god!
DITC producer Buckwild remixed “Get It Together” for a promo 12′ release of the song. Buck starts the remix off with clattering hi-hats and repetitive, chilly piano keys, and a thumping bass line. At about 0:15, Buck adds sleigh bells and hard snares to the percussion. Every few bars, these distorted echoing horns enter the mix. (You hear these horns in a lot of Buckwild remixes from around this time; listen to his remixes for the Artifacts and Tha Alkaholiks for examples.)
On the chorus, Buck retains McDaniels’ singing and adds scratches of lyrics from KRS-One (“emcees!”) and another 80s rapper I can’t quite place. The lyrics are completely unchanged, since the remix uses the original a cappella. On the chorus, he adds a high-pitched trumpet sample that replaces the aforementioned distorted horns for the rest of the song’s verses.
Buckwild slowed the song’s tempo and his remix turns “Get It Together” into a New York underground record. I love both versions but I gotta give the original the vote because it suits the vibe of the song better. That said, Buckwild’s remix is pretty damn serious too.
For more info on “Get It Together”, read BeastieMania’s scarily comprehensive write-up. They even list and explain every pop culture reference in the song!
Here’s a great live performance of the song from the 1996 Tibetan Freedom Concert:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nT3SkrtFV4[/youtube]