I know next to nothing about hip-hop, but even I have heard of the Beastie Boys. Giant robots in music videos, Futurama appearances and an bald substitute teacher doing ‘Fight For Your Right’ at a school talent show. Yes, I am not a stranger to these white, middle class, Jewish rappers.
As I listened to Licensed to Ill it was rather shocking how many of these songs rang bells. Aside from the already mentioned ‘Fight For Your Right’, I have already come across ‘Girls’, ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’ , ‘Brass Monkey’ and a few others. I have no idea where from, I just knew them.
One thing that is to be said of this album is that whilst it is most definitely a hip hop album, it feels a lot more punk rocky. Like if the Clash had taken up rap music. There is just so much life in this album, that you can happily skirt past some of the weirder jarring elements (like the sampling of the Green Acres theme song) and appreciate it as something that truly influenced a lot of hip hop music that followed.
It is interesting to note that other than the Beastie Boys there are only two other white hip-hip acts with albums on the list (and by the time this goes it The Streets may have dropped out).