The Beastie Boys broke ground for all other acts to travel. The band that started out as a New York punk outfit comprised of three teenagers, turned to hip hop long before it was acceptable for white boys to rap.
In 1986 when “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” and “Fight For Your Right” hit MTV and the radio airwaves, the three New Yorkers received as much hate as they did praise. White boys rapping to largely black audiences was more than just daring. Opening for hip hop legends RUN DMC on a national tour was groundbreaking. They were coined by one MTV newswoman, “the court jesters in the kingdom of rap.”
As the band’s debut album Licensed To Ill shot up the charts and millions of teens cheered on the band, conservative parents were “terrified” of the lyrical content as seen in this vintage clip from the Oprah Winfrey Show. Spin Magazine’s founder Bob Guccione Jr. attempted to help parents gain understanding, “The Beastie Boys are the most tasteless group in rock ‘n roll by their own admission. That is their act. That is what they sell.”
–Jay Tilles, CBS Local