Masterpiece Reviews: Beastie Boys – “Licensed To Ill”

Welcome to the latest edition of Masterpiece Reviews. Once again, we’ve thrown on our favorite velvet robe, turned up the fire, and are here to regale you with stories of the greatest and most classic albums of all time. It’s a fresh, new perspective on why these albums are filed under “M” for masterpiece.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Beastie Boys’ debut album Licensed To Ill. The year was 1985. Three guys from New York City who had been playing punk and hardcore bands around the city were beginning to change gears. Back in 1983, they released a single called ‘Cookie Puss’, a sample heavy hip-hop track that caught fire in New York night clubs. Due to the success of the single, the trio began incorporating more hip-hop into their sets. They hired an NYU student to DJ their live shows. The DJ, a young Rick Rubin, teamed up with fellow student Russell Simmons and formed Def Jam Records. One of the first bands they decided to sign were the hardcore boys for which Rubin had been DJing. And the rest was history.

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