Throwback Thurs.: The Beastie Boys

We continue to pay tribute to artists who informed our tastes in music:

The Beastie Boys started as pop curiosities on their first release, Ill Communication and the hit “Fight For Your Right (To Party).”  Ill Communication launched Rick Rubin as a serious music producer, but walled in these three New Yawk punks as party boys; an identity they could not accept. They sought autonomy and cut ties with Def Jam Records two years after their first major release.

“No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn”

Capitol Records wooed the Beasties and offered them their own label, Grand Royal. They released Paul’s Boutique, which set a standard that few hip hop albums have met. Though it didn’t pan out immediately, as their new label had hoped. Loaded with Dust Brothers’ samples and clever lyricism, Paul’s Boutique shred the frat boy party image Def Jam so eagerly cultivated.

“Shadrach” (Abstract Impressionist Version)

The Beasties waited another three years to release Check Your Head, which featured the trio playing instruments and working with original samples. Prodded by producer Mario Caldato Jr., the boys embraced a new approach that fused hip hop with punk, psych rock, and jam music. Rumors at the time claimed the move was partially spurred because of potential legal issues and costs related to sampling on Paul’s Boutique. The trio was driven to create original music, and proved more than capable in demonstrating their chops as a legitimate band. Ill Communication followed a similar format and further separated the Beasties from their earlier Def Jam incarnation as white frat boy punks capitalizing on a fringe genre.


Subsequent releases (e.g., Hello Nasty, To the Five Boroughs and Hot Sauce Committee Part II) were accepted as products from vanguards of hip hop–a role that no one could have initially envisioned. In 2012, Adam Yauch/MCA died from complications related to salivary gland cancer. He was regarded within and outside the group as the Beasties’ conscience, and his death left a huge hole.

Yauch Cancer Announcement

Michael Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horowitz (Ad Rock) continue to work on creative ventures as solo artists, but the Beasties Boys as an entity are no longer. Nor should they be. They understood the dynamic all too well, even delaying the release of Hot Sauce Committee Part II with hope for Yauch’s recovery.

Beastie Boys

This picture makes me happy and sad at the same time. I believe it’s the last one published of the three Beasties together. SCREW CANCER. If you have a dime to give, think about donating it to cancer research.

Beastie Boys – “Make Some Noise”
from Hot Sauce Committee Part II 

Beastie Boys – “Too Many Rappers” [new reactionaries version] (featuring NAS)
from Hot Sauce Committee Part II 

From Late Night with David Letterman in 1992, it’s one of Dave’s great moments (as well as our beloved B-Boys):

Their well deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Induction Speech

Now if those RRHOF assholes could just induct the Smiths and the Pixies, the world will be right for awhile…



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