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Production Credits:

3 the Hard Way Click for Lyrics

First Appearance: To the 5 Boroughs LP, 4 June 2004
Written by: Beastie Boys
Performed by: Beastie Boys
Production Notes: Produced by Beastie Boys. Mixed by Supa Engineer "DURO" for No Question Ent./Loreal Inc. Recording engineered by Beastie Boys and Jon Weiner. Turntable Extraordinaire: Mix Master Mike. Recorded and mixed at Oscilloscope Laboratories. Mastered by Chris Athens at Sterling Sound.

Behind the Beats and Lyrics...


  • "Three the Hard Way" by L.L. Cool J from his album Radio (1985)
  • "The New Style" by Beastie Boys from their album Licensed to Ill (1986)


  • Modell's - the oldest family-owned sporting goods store in the United States, opening its first store in 1889 on Cortlandt Street in lower Manhattan
  • Brooklyn - New York City borough
  • The els - New York City subways become "els," or elevated trains, as they travel further into the boroughs
  • Edward R. Murrow - Edward R. Morrow High School in Brooklyn, NY, named after one of America's most prominent 20th century journalists
  • Avenue L - avenue in Brooklyn, where Edward R. Murrow High School is located
  • Stylus - the needle of a record player or of a recording instrument; a stylus made of diamond produces the best quality sound
  • JC - John Cutcliffe, Beastie Boys management associate
  • FedEx - short for "Federal Express," a commercial freight company
  • Discotheque - a nightclub offering recorded music for dancing instead of music played by a band of live musicians
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex - a huge carnivorous dinosaur
  • Three the Hard Way - a 1974 Blaxploitation film, starring Jim Brown, Jim Kelly, and Fred Williamson
  • Piazza - Mike Piazza, catcher of the New York Mets baseball team (1998-2005)
  • Matzoh - a large, flat piece of unleavened bread, traditionally eaten during Passover
  • Challah bread - a braided loaf of bread traditionally eaten by Jews in celebration of the Sabbath
  • Cruex - a brand of anti-fungal medicine used for jock-itch
  • Def Jam - a division of Columbia Records and Beasties Boys' first major record label, founded by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons
  • Gnip Gnop - a classic 1970's Parker Brothers skill and action game (Ping Pong spelled backward)
  • E.T. phone home - in the popular 1980's Steven Spielberg film E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, the alien E.T. learns and repeatedly says the phrase "phone home"
  • Canal - Canal Street in Manhattan
  • Steak-umm - brandname for thinly layered steaks

Sample & Reference Breakdown

  • "We're gonna rock this motherfucker like three the hard way" - a sample of the freestyle in between the tracks "Dangerous" and "Rock the Bells" from L.L. Cool J's album Radio
  • "Used to ride the D to beat the morning bell at Edward R. Murrow out on Avenue L" - refers to Adam Yauch's taking the D train to attend Edward R. Murrow High School, located on Avenue L in Brooklyn
  • "Qu'est-ce-que tu fabriques?" - French for "What are you making?"
  • "Che cosa fai/Che cazzo fai?" - Italian for "What do you do/What the fuck do you do?"
  • "Come stai?" - Italian for "How are you?"
  • "Ho fatto molte telefonate" - Italian for "I've made a lot of telephone calls"
  • "I can see that Def Jam doesn't recognize me/I'm Mike D, the one who put the satin in your panties" - refers to Def Jam Records profiting from the release of Licensed to Ill. Additionally, the lyric "I'm Mike D, the one who put the satin in your panties" is borrowed from "I Get Around" by Tupac Shakur (featuring Money B & Shock G ("Baby I can see, that you don't recognize me/I'm Shock G, the one who put the satin on your panties")
  • "Not five, not four, not two, just three" - similar to the lyrics from "Jam Master Jay" by Run-DMC ("Not five, not four, not three, just two")
  • "1, 2, 3...3, 2, 1" - sample from "The New Style" by Beastie Boys
  • "What up!" - sample from "The New Style" by Beastie Boys
  • "Drunken Mantis, my name brand" - Seven Star Praying Mantis and its offspring, Tai Chi Praying Mantis, are styles of Kung Fu. Both styles incorporate impressive kicking and footwork techniques."Drunken style" martial arts refers to erratic, off-kilter, and low-to-the-ground movements.
  • "Gnip Gnop, I got shit to pop" - in the game Gnip Gnop, each player tries to be the first to "pop" all his or her colored balls to the opponent's side of the court by shooting them through the holes in the center
  • "Sell our CDs on Canal before we make 'em/Serve you on a platter like Steak-Um" - refers to street vendors selling bootleg merchandise on Canal Street


Beastie Boys

"Firmly on b-boy island. But it has stayed, on visits, weekends on goofy island. It actually rented a condo last winter on goofy island. But it was weird..." - Beastie Boys, using their "Three Islands" approach in describing the songs on their new album


"The opening of [3 the Hard Way], with MCA poking 'sucka MC's' in the chest with the line, 'Your rhyme technique, it is antique' is like seeing the schoolyard bully for the first time after summer vacation." - Michael D. Clark, Houston Chronicle, 2004

"MCA disses a perpetrator with 'Your rhyme technique/It is antique' but it could have easily been a boast about his crews flow, as they seem to become even more real with age" - Associated Press, June 2004

"...MCA has no right to sneer, as he does in [3 the Hard Way], that 'Your rhyme technique/It is antique' for the Beastie Boys, that's now the point" - New York Times, June 15, 2004


Released Versions:

3 the Hard Way
3 the Hard Way (Acapella)
3 The Hard Way (Instrumental)


Performed in 4 known Concerts.

First known Performance:
14-Sep-2004 : Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA, United States

Last known Performance:
15-Jan-2005 : Aichiken Taiikukan, Nagoya, Japan

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