Few who caught their shambolic early shows would have bet that the Beastie Boys would enjoy one of hip-hop's longest, most credible careers. Initially a scratchy punk trio in thrall to Black Flag and Bad Brains, their collectible, quick fire eight-track debut EP Polly Wog Stew was as funny as it was forgettable, yet within its DNA was the raw potential that Def Jam super-producer Rick Rubin would fashion into rock rap gold. Brash, bold, and booze-fuelled 1986's Licensed To Ill catapulted the Beasties into the pop charts and the British tabloids, deliberately dumb rock rap anthems like Fight For Your Right matched by the giant inflatable penises and caged girls of their touring review – an oafish image they've gamely struggled to offload ever since. They followed it with their most enduring work – the unexpected, intricate sample fest of Paul's Boutique (1989) – nearly committing commercial suicide in the process, while 1992's Check Your Head saw them picking up their instruments again and bridging the gulf from their debut. By 1994's Ill Communication the Beasties had become unlikely avatars of New York cool, thanks in part to their sprawling Grand Royal empire and their extensive festival following. By comparison the 00s have relatively fallow; Hot Sauce Committee, the two-volume follow-up to their post 9/11 NYC homage To The Five Boroughs (2004), suffering a series of delays, none more serious than MCA's battles with mouth cancer.
Followers: Blink 182, DJ Format, Luscious Jackson, Sean Lennon, NWA, Chuck D
Influenced By: Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Led Zeppelin, Run-DMC, War, Slick Rick, Kurtis Blow, Bob James, Jimmy Castor, Kool & The Gang...