The Beastie Boys were and still are pioneers of hip hop. The group has successfully blurred the lines between hip hop, rock, punk, funk, jazz, and whatever else they have been known to dream up. For several decades, the Beastie Boys have wowed fans and been known to actively push humanitari... More
The Beastie Boys were and still are pioneers of hip hop. The group has successfully blurred the lines between hip hop, rock, punk, funk, jazz, and whatever else they have been known to dream up. For several decades, the Beastie Boys have wowed fans and been known to actively push humanitarian agendas. They are seen as the predecesors to an entire new genre of music which combines rock and hip hop, preceding groups like Korn and Limp Bizkit, although the Beastie Boys don't agree with this type of labeling of their vast musical abilities. They are the highest selling hip hop group of all time and the fourth highest selling hip hop artists, in general.
Most of the members of the Beastie Boys have been working together since their humble beginnings in Brooklyn, NY in 1979. The current members of the group include: Adam Yauch (aka- MCA), Michael Diamond (aka- Mike D), Adam Horovitz (aka- Adrock), and most recently Michael Schwartz (aka- Mix Master Mike). They have put out seven separate albums over the years, as well as several additional compilation albums. Their latest album came out in June of 2007, entitled The Mix-Up (a purely instrumental album). Their first album, Licensed to Ill, came out in 1986, while they were still working with Def Jam Records. During that time, the Beastie Boys would tour with Madonna, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Whodini, and the Timex Social Club. Their first album was the best selling hip hop album of the eighties. It was the first rap album to ever reach #1 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. The album has since sold over five million copies. The Beastie Boys' first tour, following the release of the album, was their most controversial in terms of props and stage acts, as well as excitable audiences.
The second album released by the group was called Paul's Boutique. For this album, the group had separated itself from Def Jam records and signed on with Capitol Records. Recorded in 1988, the album showcased a more mature side of the Beastie Boys. The tracks featured very heavy sampling from other songs and new recording, mixing, and layering techniques. Although the album was not received well initially by the public, it went on to sell over a million copies.
The followup to Paul's Boutique (Check Your Head) didn't arrive until 1992. Laced with experimental jazz and funk-inspired tracks, Check Your Head was an all-out commercial success. The album went Double Platinum in the United States.The album was released under their own record label: Grand Royal and recorded in their new recording studio called G-Son. In addition to the success of their brand new label, the Beastie Boys also published their own magazine that year, entitled Grand Royal Magazine. Through their writing, the boys were rumored to have coined the term "mullet" for an infamous type of haircut from the eighties and early nineties.
While other groups reach the top and quickly fade, the Beastie Boys followed up strong as always with their next album: 1994's Ill Communication. The album debuted at an impressive #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart in the States. Around the same time, the group also released Some Old Bullshit, a compilation of some early independent work. Through touring in the upcoming year and part of the profit from Ill Communication the Beastie Boys contributed to the Milarepa Fund, which is meant to raise awareness of Tibetan human rights. In 1996, Adam Yauch (MCA) organized the first Tibetan Freedom Concert to raise money for the same cause. As for the band's tour in 1995, one dollar from each ticket sold (to sold-out shows) went to local charities. It's fair to say that the Beastie Boys had more than pure profit in mind when it came to their immense success as artists. They were always and foremost contributors of humanitarian initiatives. The same year as their tour, they also released another short compilation album, Aglio e Olio, reminiscent of their long-lost punk sound. Clearly fans of compilation albums around this time period, the boys followed up with The In Sound From Way Out! in 1996. The instrumental album included jazz and funk pieces which the band had previously released.
After over a decade in the industry, the Beastie Boys were not ready to give it up. 1998 was the year of Hello Nasty. Upon its release, this album instantly dominated the charts of a dozen countries worldwide. It shot straight to number one on the charts in the U.S., the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. It followed at a close #2 in Japan and Canada as well as making the Top 10 in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Finland, Austria, and Israel. The album earned the group two Grammy Awards in 1999. One for Best Alternative Music Album, and the second for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for the single "Intergalactic". They broke a Grammy record by being the first group to win awards in both the alternative and rap categories, solidifying their success at mixing different genres through their music. That same single went on to win the 1999 MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video. The boys toured in 1998 and continued performing at the Tibetan Freedom Concerts in 1999. During the same year, in the tradition of compilations, the Beastie Boys released a two-CD set called The Sounds of Science.
The band's humanitarian endeavors did not take a rest during this time either. Following the attacks of September 11th, the Beastie Boys organized a concert in NYC called the New Yorkers Against Violence Concert, which they put together just one month after the attacks, with all proceeds going towards a couple of New York-based charitable foundations. The band later voiced their concern over the 2003entrance into Iraq, with the publicly-released single "In A World Gone Mad" which was available for free download off of several popular websites. The band also performed at the 19th and 20th Tibetan Freedom Concerts. The following year, the group released To The 5 Boroughs. Not surprisingly, the album reached #1 on the Billboard charts, and scored highly in a few other countries. It was the first album that the Beastie Boys had produced by themselves. Their next album, the aforementioned The Mix-Up was also produced by the group.
The Boys are currently hard at work recording their eighth studio album, due out this Spring. The release of "Tadlock's Glasses" will be followed up by a massive world tour (possibly with Santogold) sometime later in 2009.