[ad]I was introduced to the Beastie Boys by a friend who made gave me a mixtape, the first song of which was the Beastie Boys staple, “You Gotta Fight, For Your Right (To Party)”
I, of course, missed the Beastie Boys’ songwriting. What was essentially a parody of the party lifestyle became my party anthem.
And then there were other Beastie Boys favorites, namely “Sabotage”:
It was only much later, when I started seeing the Beastie Boys as more than a bunch of fun loving idiots and as a serious rap group that had a tremendous amount of influence on hip hop in general, did I realize their importance to gangsta rap.
Gangsta rap was initally made famous by Ice-T in the early 80s, and Public Enemy and N.W.A. in the late 80s.
But the Beastie Boys, who were originally a punk band (with a female drummer!) had plenty of gangsta roots – in the late 70s, punk was the most badass you could get outside the hood. Their eponymous album License to Ill, has more references to drugs, guns, and mindless sex to be a classified as a veritable gangsta rap album. This, of course, has to do with their punk rock origins.
The Boys have never acknowledged themselves as gangsta rap pioneers. But with songs like “Sabotage” (see above for video), “Car Thief”, (see below), they have all the ingredients of gangsta rappers.
The most crucial thing, of course, is the fact that the Beastie Boys were pretty much the first white rappers/gangsta rappers who got mainstream commercial success. Without the Boys, there might have been no Eminem, no Asher Roth, and I’m pretty sure, no mainstream hip hop.
Beastie Boys, we take a bow.