Written By Braddon S. Williams
Beastie Boys: Licensed To Ill
Licensed To Ill (1986) by the Beastie Boys was the first rap album I really liked.
It had punk rock spirit, party anthems, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC samples, a wicked Kerry King guitar solo, and an overall spirit of fun anarchy about it.
Ironically, (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!) was written to mock the very people who adopted it as their anthem. I have played the song in a couple of cover bands and it works both ways (surrender to the fun and don’t overthink it, right?). No Sleep Till Brooklyn features Slayer’s Kerry King on the crushing riff and insane guitar solo.
Girls is just pure fun, as is Brass Monkey, Rhymin’ & Stealin’, and pretty much the rest of the album.
Mike D, Ad Rock, and MCA provide the seamless flow of their youthful cockiness and Rick Rubin provides the stellar production loaded with killer grooves and samples.
The result is a time capsule of a more innocent time in hip hop and one of the best selling rap albums of all time.
Licensed To Ill put Beastie Boys on the map.