Gestated in New York of the 1970s, Beastie Boys burst forth from the punk rock, hip-hop, skateboarding and graffiti medley of ’80s youth culture brewing in the only city that could have spawned them.
Forged in friendship, the alchemy between Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch and Michael Diamond created the soundtrack for their own generation and many to come, keeping heads nodding with every album, every song, every lyric, every meticulously chosen loop. The early days had them featuring heavy metal musicians and skaters in their videos, blending theater and comedy into their performances and enlisting the hands of artists Cey Adams and Eric Haze in creating their logos. Later they ushered other artists into the world via their Grand Royal label, grew to be activists in their own right and self-actualized before our eyes with every groundbreaking move.
From their days as a punk band of adolescents banging on instruments in the Rat Cage Records recordings, through their Def Jam release of Licensed to Ill — one of the best-selling rap albums of all time — the surprise gifts of Paul’s Boutique, the critically acclaimed Check Your Head, the crazy videos with Spike Jonze, the Grammy-winning Hello Nasty, the all-instrumental stylings of The Mix-Up, the love letter to New York that is To the 5 Boroughs and their last offering, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, they karate-chopped a path to success both wildly crooked and organic, with fans cheering them on all the way.
True to form, here they offer a glimpse backstage by sharing some of the original tools of their craft, personal mementos and precious ephemera from the journey so far. In their own words: “ch-ch-check it out!” It’s really cool shit.
BEYOND THE STREETS New York, 2019. Photo by Dan Bradica.