Thirty years ago today, the Beastie Boys released their debut studio album Licensed To Ill. What place does it have in music history?
The Beastie Boys defined a rhythm in music like no other. Starting off as a purely punk band, they eventually picked up mics and started rapping, creating and emulsion of hip-hop and rap that reshaped the status quo of music in the 80s.
On November 15 1986, Licensed To Ill smashed through the charts, knocking Bon Jovi out of the number one spot and staying there for seven weeks. Songs like Fight For Your Right and Brass Monkey became massive hits among youth and shocked the rest of the world in typical punk fashion.
Fight For Your Right propelled the Beastie Boys into a mainstream frenzy. A combination of fist-pumping, anarchy-inducing lyrics captivated a wide audience of rebellious youths. It was the start of a long career of controversial music. Even the Beasties’ themselves suggested that their music was often misunderstood.
“The only thing that upsets me is that we might have reinforced certain values of some people in our audience when our own values were actually totally different. There were tons of guys singing along to Fight for Your Right who were oblivious to the fact it was a total goof on them.” Mike D said.
The rest of License To Ill is considered less rock and more hip-hop than its most successful song. Although sampling Led Zeppelin in Rythmn & Stealin’, the dichotomy of musical tastes exemplify the band’s undeniable talent and diversity.
When Licensed to Ill was released, it was a combination of right and wrong. Whether people detested the sound and nature of the Beasties or worshipped them as the fresh and original artists they were, the boys continued to spit lyrics and create emblematic anthems until the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch in 2012.