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Production Credits:

The Skills to Pay the Bills

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First Appearance: So What'cha Want 12" 1992
Written by: Beastie Boys
Performed by: Beastie Boys
Production Notes: Produced by Beastie Boys and Mario Caldato. Recorded and mixed at G-Son Studios, Atwater Village, CA. Mastered by Tom Baker at Future Disc.

Behind the Beats and Lyrics...


  • Rip van Winkle - a character in a Washington Irving story who sleeps 20 years and upon awakening is startled to find how much the world has changed
  • Futterman's Rule - Gene Futterman's Rule of Etiquette is "When two are served, all may eat."
  • Bob Mack - ex-Grand Royal media assistant
  • Epileptic - a person who has epilepsy, a disorder of the nervous system
  • Dennis Coffey - a 1970's Detroit session guitarist
  • Scorpio - zodiac sign for birthdays falling between October 24 and November 22
  • Crack - a form of cocaine
  • Young Aborigines - an early punk band with Jeremy Shatan, Mike Diamond, John Berry, and Kate Schellenbach
  • Mario C - Mario Caldato, Beastie Boys producer/engineer

Sample & Reference Breakdown

  • "Up to the top, 'till the very last drop" - similar to the Maxwell House coffee slogan "Good to the last drop"
  • "Like Dennis Coffey I'm a Scorpio" - in 1971, Dennis Coffey scored a gold single and hit on the Top 10 R&B charts with "Scorpio"; also, Mike Diamond was born on November 20, which places him under the zodiac sign of Scorpio


Beastie Boys

"I like this song 'cause Mike's playing the drums and Yauch's playing the bass. It's kind of got that old-school live band flavor. The name 'Skills to Pay the Bills' was originally the name of a 'Pass the Mic' remix, but we liked the name so much that we decided to make a song out of it" - Adam Horovitz, 1999


Released Versions:

Pass The Mic (Pt.2, Skills To Pay The Bills)
Skills to Lighten Up (Lighten Up x Skills to Pay the Bills)
Skills to Pay the Bills
Skills to Pay the Bills (Instrumental)
Skills To Pay The Bills (Live)
The Skills to Pay the Bills (Original Version)


Performed in 102 known Concerts.

First known Performance:
18-Aug-1992 : Boathouse, The, Norfolk, VA, United States

Last known Performance:
09-Jun-2009 : Rams Head, Baltimore, MD, United States

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