Album Review | Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill

This album was released on November 15th in 1986. The Beastie Boys were a Hip Hop band consisting of Mike D, MCA, Ad-Rock, Kate Schellenbach on percussion, and John Berry on the guitars. I’ve always known the Beastie Boys as “that group of white rappers.” I’m definitely looking forward to hearing what made them go diamond. Not a lot of artists can do that. It might have had something to do with white privilege, but I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re decent MCs. Every song is produced by Rick Rubin.

Rhymin’ & Stealin’
The New Style
She’s Crafty
Posse in Effect
Slow Ride
Fight for Your Right
No Sleep Till Brooklyn
Paul Revere
Hold It Now, Hit It
Brass Monkey
Slow & Low
Time to Get Ill

I could tell right away from the hard drum breaks and electric guitars that there was gonna be a lot of rock influence on this album. The beat on the first track is dope. I love how they were all rhymin’ together and finishing each other’s lines. The way they’re yelling would probably be annoying to a lot of younger listeners, but I don’t mind it personally. That “Ali Baba & The 40 Thieves” bridge was pretty corny. The shit is kinda dope tho. It’s hella dated, but I enjoyed it a little bit…

The New Style

The production on The New Style is really fucking good. It’s pretty much the only saving factor of the song. I’d much rather hear someone like Chuck D rapping over that beat. The Beastie Boys aren’t really that entertaining lyrically. They sound like me and my friends in elementary school. It’s hard for me to decide how I feel about dated music like this. I get why it was so successful, but there’s pretty much no replay value in it for me. I’m never gonna come back it.

She's Crafty

She’s Crafty is pretty boring. I’m gonna be honest… The Beastie Boys are corny as fuck. Just look at them in that single art. They’re dressed like a bunch of clowns. Their deliveries started getting on my nerves by the time I reached track 4, and I’m not really feelin’ most of their production. The Posse in Effect beat is actually pretty hard though. I like the way they were all trading bars, and the hook is pretty entertaining as well. I think I would’ve liked if they incorporated more musical elements, like some guitar in the background. The instrumental didn’t really go anywhere. It’s a decent song though. I wasn’t feelin’ the beat on Slow Ride. It has the same melody as the George Lopez show’s theme song.

I’m a gangster; I’m a prankster

These dudes were trolls, not gangsters. Well, I don’t know. Maybe they just said that shit because they didn’t wanna be fucked with, or maybe they really were in the Aryan Brotherhood. Girls is horrific. The beat is annoying as fuck and I’m not feelin’ the melodic delivery. Fight for Your Right has a lot more Rock influence than any of the other songs. It’s not for me, but I see why it was popular when Rock was the dominant genre. I just don’t really like the sound electric guitars make. I like the message behind the song though.

The No Sleep Till Brooklyn beat is kinda hard. I just can’t get into the way these dude’s rhyme. Their whole style is just corny as hell to me. Ad-Rock’s voice is irritating. The reversed percussion on Paul Revere is kinda cool. The story didn’t really do much for me tho. The production on this album sounds super simplistic compared to a lot of the shit that comes out these days. It’s really outdated. Hold It Now, Hit It did absolutely nothing to capture my attention. Brass Monkey is definitely a standout single. I remember liking it when I was in elementary school due to the melody of the beat. I didn’t even know what Brass Monkey meant. Those were the good ol’ days lmao. I like the tempo of Slow & Low, but that’s pretty much it as far as positives go. Time to Get Ill was a good closer. I guess…

I don’t know. It’s just not that good of an album to me. I get why it was popular for its time. I kinda feel like white privilege had something to do with it, but I don’t wanna be unfair. I’m never gonna listen to this shit ever again. Ever. Rhymin’ & Stealin’ was cool. At least they were honest about how they were stealing ideas from black folks. I’m gonna be honest. What I really wanna say is… “THIS SHIT IS WHITE AF.” I don’t wanna sound like Padlock Jones though. That dude’s a dumbass…

Favorite Song: No Sleep Till Brooklyn
Least Favorite Song: Girls




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