While Beck's collision of folk and rap might seem jarring, to Mike D it's not an incongruous mix at all. "He fits into the nomadic folk tradition of Ramblin' Jack Elliott, the whole traditional coffeehouse balladeer tip," he says.

Subterranean Homeboy Blues by Mike Rubin. SPIN magazine, July 1994.

Allen Ginsberg: What I heard first of yours were funky things, very interesting rhymes, stanzas in blues, very old antique sound. I said, how'd this young kid get so educated? Because you're really young and coming from these classic roots. I thought, geez, something great is happening!

Beck: Yeah, That was my world. Still is. I found myself rejecting so much new music, everything that is part of our culture. Then a couple of years ago, I just spun all around and decided to embrace it all. The machines, the rap, the loud guitars, every sort of emotional level. And just go with it all. It's an experiment.
Well, I was playing the traditional stuff and first I was really down with 'Anti-folk.' That's basically what the term was. It was separating themselves from all the new-age sounding stuff. The safe, watered down stuff. That charged me up, and I came onto the idea of taking the traditional music and come up with different words. I was fascinated with the whole early '60's folk revival. Did you know Dave Van Ronk, Jack Elliott, and those guys?

Allen Ginsberg: Jack Elliott I know from 1950!

Beck: I just saw him about three months ago at McCabe's. And it was a great show. A lot of spaces. He has a lot of spaces. He just stretches those spaces out.

Allen Ginsberg: I know him from 1950. I was in a bug house and I had a girlfriend.

Beck: He's the cowboy from Brooklyn.

Allen Ginsberg: And he stole my girlfriend. I was in a bug house for about eight months. And I was getting out, and I had this girlfriend, trying that out.

Beck: He stole her away?

Allen Ginsberg: An idyllic romance, and it was my first, she was my cherry. I was totally in love, and she liked William Carlos Williams, and was literate, but I was just this wimp from the nut house. Then he came along, and made out with her.

A Beat / Slacker Transgenerational Meeting of Minds
by Ginsberg / Beck. Shambhala Sun, 27 Sept 2020.

Chris Douridas: How about Woody Guthrie?

Beck: Ya, you know [Beck begins to play opening lick to Hard Travelin'],
that's where I learned to play guitar was from Woody Guthrie.

Morning Becomes Eclectic with Chris Douridas. KCRW Radio, 19 June 1996.