Classic album review: Licensed to Ill


Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times from Tribune News Service

In this September 10, 1998 file photograph, the Beastie Boys perform at the MTV Video Music Awards. Adam Yauch, center, has died, Friday, May 4, 2012, according to Rolling Stone magazine. He was 47.

Janaleigh Muszynsky, News editor

In The Beastie Boys’ first album, Licensed to Ill , they demonstrate the use of back tracking samples in the rock genre, rapping over the sample with nonsense, meaningless, sexual innuendo lyrics. The most well known song off the album, Fight For Your Right, ranks supreme due to the original lyrics-You’ve got to fight, for your right, to party!- catchy riffs and universal meaning.

The hip-hop/rap group seems to be the most well known for taking popular rock songs, such as No Sleep Till Brooklyn, and making it their own. They took the most famous line, ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’, and added in their own versus.

Not only did they do this, major form of sampling, but in other songs, such as Slow Ride they took a famous sample many people recognize- the jazzy saxophone riff from War by Low Rider.

The Beastie Boys originated in New York, New York. They have gone through four labels, their most popular being Def Jam. The band consists of Michael ‘Mike D’ Diamond on vocals and drums, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch on vocals and bass, and Adam ‘Ad-Rock’ Horovitz. The band was originally another collective, with a fourth member, Kate Schellenbach.

This original band was a hardcore punk band, and released an album called Cocky Puss. But, after Schellenbach left, leaving Diamond, Yauch and Horovitz to create the Beastie Boys, and their first album, Licensed to Ill was released in 1985 after touring with Madonna. The Jewish rappers still tour today, but with a majorly different line-up and down two original members- Yauch (2012) and Berry(2016).

I’d give the album 4 of 5 stars due to the overuse of popular samples, leading to a lack of originality as well as a lack of meaningful lyrics. While this (Licensed to Ill) was their first album, it is easy to be lenient on their childish, inappropriate lyrics and not using their own tracks.

While it is important to be original in the art instrustry, the band makes successful use of samples by using beats that could easily get stuck in one’s head (I.E the backing to Girls). The only real purpose of this album is to feel good and be happy, and one does not need a reason to be happy.