Friday, August 19, 2011

25 Albums. #22: Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys

This is arguably their weakest album and I'm not even going to try and defend it in that sense. It's also awful that the group originally wanted to title it "Don't Be a Faggot" and, again, I won't even bother trying to defend it. The band members themselves have also expressed dislike for a good portion of anything relating to this album. Did you know that they won't even perform "Fight For Your Right" live anymore? Apparently they haven't since the late 80's.

Brass Monkey, however, remains a highpoint of their entire career.
That said, Licensed to Ill is the album that helped me transition into discovering the world of hip hop. Sure, that's pretty typical and all- given their status as white rappers, but it was this album (and to a lesser extent, Raising Hell), that opened my eyes to a style of hip hop that wasn't what was popular when I was a developing teen (I won't name names, but there was an awful lot of misogyny and hate in many of those songs) (some might say that those things are still prominent in lots of popular hip hop acts today) (and yes, I'm aware that Licensed to Ill is the album that contains the track "Girls" and the irony is not lost on me).

That said, it opened up a new world of music where samples of older music could be used to create brand new music. I still don't listen to a whole lot of hip hop (generally if it's not the Beastie Boys, it's someone on Doomtree or Epitaph or someone who has played on the Warped Tour or something) but I like to think that Licensed to Ill had something to do with it.

Licensed to Ill also brings back fond memories of playing Dynasty Warriors 3 into the wee hours of the morning and this album would be the soundtrack to those long hours of getting lost in the game. I had three characters that I would play with: Mike D, Ad-rock and MCA. What a tribute.

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