top of page
Sabotage
Song

Sabotage

Beastie Boys
Album:
Ill Communication

Song Meaning and Background of Sabotage by Beastie Boys


The Beastie Boys started of as a hardcore-punk rock band before evolving into a hip-hop group and becoming rap rock.


“Sabotage” shows off their mastery in both domains, a rap-rock bombshell from their 1994 fourth album, Ill Communication. The album reached number one in the USA.


The three MCs jam on Yauch’s fuzzed-out bass riff, while Horovitz gets ill on the mic. As he said, “This one called for some old-fashioned screaming, that’s for sure.” “Sabotage” also inspired one of the coolest videos ever, a Seventies trip full of bad wigs and cheap suits — as big an influence on comedy as it was on music.


The song was first conceived when MCA played the signature bass line one day in the studio and it immediately caught the band's attention.


Both Ad-Rock and Mike D picked up their respective instruments and started building on it. According to Ad-Rock in the 2020 Beastie Boys Story documentary, the lyrics are a fictitious rant about how their producer "was the worst person ever and how he was always sabotaging us and holding us back."


The song reached number 15 in the USA charts and number 19 in the UK charts.


Lyrics of Sabotage by Beastie Boys


I can't stand it, I know you planned it

I'ma set it straight, this Watergate

I can't stand rocking when I'm in here

'Cause your crystal ball ain't so crystal clear

So while you sit back and wonder why

I got this fucking thorn in my side

Oh my God. It's a mirage

I'm tellin' y'all, it's sabotage

 

So, so, so, so listen up, 'cause you can't say nothing

You'll shut me down with a push of your button

But, yo, I'm out, and I'm gone

I'll tell you now, I keep it on and on

 

'Cause what you see, you might not get

And we can bet, so don't you get souped yet

Scheming on a thing, that's a mirage

I'm trying to tell you now, it's sabotage

 

Why?

(Our backs are now against the wall)

 

Listen, all y'all, it's a sabotage

Listen, all y'all, it's a sabotage

Listen, all y'all, it's a sabotage

Listen, all y'all, it's a sabotage

 

I can't stand it, I know you planned it

I'ma set it straight, this Watergate

But I can't stand rocking when I'm in this place

Because I feel disgrace because you're all in my face

But make no mistakes and switch up my channel

I'm Buddy Rich when I fly off the handle

What could it be – it's a mirage

You're scheming on a thing, that's sabotage

Release Date

1994

Songwriter/s

Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch

Producer/s

Beastie Boys, Mario Caldato Jr.

Label/s

Grand Royal

Other Songs

bottom of page