Regular readers know I have a love for 80s hip hop, amongst everything else! So last month, when I heard Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch of the Beastie Boys had passed away, I knew I had to do a whole week dedicated to this iconic band.
Beastie Boys actually started as a hard-core punk band in New York in the late 70s. It wasn’t until they recorded an experimental hip hop 12″ called Cooky Puss that they realized where their real talent was and transitioned into full time hip hop, although punk undertones always remained in their music. Their album Licensed to Ill, released in 1986 spawned the hit (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!) which is still their best known song. Licensed to Ill became the biggest selling rap album of the 80s and the first to go #1 on the Billboard album chart. Their second 80s album, Paul’s Boutique, was described by Rolling Stone as “the Pet Sounds/The Dark Side of the Moon of hip hop.”
Beastie Boys had such a unique sound, which would influence scores of bands through the 80s, 90s and beyond. I think many had a hard time classifying them in a genre – were they hard rock? Rap? Hip hop? Well, I think they were all of the above, and certainly more importantly they were incredibly talented and gave us some of the best, most innovative music of the 80s.