Rick Rubin Annotates Lyrics by Beastie Boys, Hozier & More

Credit: Phil AndelmanProducer extraordinaire Rick Rubin has taken to the lyric annotating website Genius to give some background on the artists he's worked with, including Beastie Boys.

Of the Beasties' AC/DC sampling song, "Rock Hard," Rubin writes, "This was in the days where no one knew what sampling was. I remember playing it for Malcolm Young on headphones backstage at an AC/DC concert, and he was like, 'Who played guitar on that?' And I was like, 'I did.' I mean it’s a combination -- there’s samples involved too, but I’m definitely playing. And I programmed the drums. You couldn’t do it today."

Rubin also gives his thoughts on artists he hasn't worked with, including current alternative rock star Hozier.

"It’s a classic, great song. Just the way it makes me feel," Rubin says of the Irish musician's Song of the Year Grammy-nominated "Take Me to Church." "It’s a guitar-based song that is acceptable in today’s world. That’s interesting. I love the dynamics in it. The lyrics are dark, but spiritual. It’s one of the songs where if Johnny [Cash] was alive, we might try that one. It’s a weighty song."

Rubin also worked with Cash, who he convinced to cover Soundgarden's grunge classic "Rusty Cage."

"I remember playing [Cash] the Soundgarden version and him saying 'What do you want me to do with this? This has nothing to do with me,'" Rubin writes of the country legend. "And then I made a demo of how I imagined him doing it, and he was like, 'Oh.' I gave him the lyric sheet and he said they were really good words."

For more of Rubin's annotations, including his thoughts on Slayer, Vampire Weekend, Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers, visit Genius.com/RickRubin.

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