Beastie Boys Photography

Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys are lauded as pioneers for their impact on the mainstream acceptance—and commercial success—of hip-hop music. Showcasing immature, willfully bratty personalities exaggerated to the point of absurdity, their landmark 1986 release Licensed to Ill was the first hip-hop album to top the Billboard chart. An unlikely pop-culture phenomenon, it still remains one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Members Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “MCA” Yauch, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz followed up their debut two years later with the sample-laden Paul’s Boutique. Not wanting to repeat themselves, they returned to their hardcore punk roots in the 1990s and released a series of popular and critically acclaimed albums that combined thrash, Latin-styled funk, and other musical genres into their own unconventional “alternative” hip-hop style.

Throughout their career, they remained musically restless, touring and recording until the premature passing of Yauch from cancer in 2012. Ad-Rock and Mike D disbanded the group following his death, but both continue their creative pursuits as solo artists.

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