Licensed to Ill is the debut studio album by American rap rock group Beastie Boys. It was released on November 15, 1986, by Def Jam and Columbia Records, and became the first rap LP to top the Billboard album chart. It is one of Columbia Records' fastest-selling debut records to date and was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2015 for shipping over ten million copies in the United States.Wikipedia
Perhaps Licensed to Ill was inevitable -- a white group blending rock and rap, giving them the first number one album in hip-hop history. But that reading of the album's history gives short shrift to the Beastie Boys; producer Rick Rubin, and his label, Def Jam, and this remarkable record, since mixing metal and hip-hop isn't necessarily an easy thing to do. Just sampling and scratching Sabbath and Zeppelin to hip-hop beats does not make for an automatically good record, though there is a visceral thrill to hearing those muscular riffs put into overdrive with scratching. But, much of that is due to the producing skills of Rick Rubin, a metalhead who formed Def Jam Records with Russell Simmons and had previously flirted with this sound on Run-D.M.C.'s Raising Hell, not to mention a few singles and one-offs with the Beasties prior to this record. He made rap rock, but to give him lone credit for Licensed to Ill (as some have) is misleading, since that very same combination would not have been as powerful, nor would it have aged so well -- aged into a rock classic -- if it weren't for the Beastie Boys, who fuel this record through their passion for subcultures, pop culture, jokes, and the intoxicating power of wordplay. At the time, it wasn't immediately apparent that their obnoxious patter was part of a persona (a fate that would later plague Eminem), but the years have clarified that this was a joke -- although, listening to the cajoling rhymes, filled with clear parodies and absurdities, it's hard to imagine the offense that some took at the time. Which, naturally, is the credit of not just the music -- they don't call it the devil's music for nothing -- but the wild imagination of the Beasties, whose rhymes sear into consciousness through their gonzo humor and gleeful delivery. There hasn't been a funnier, more infectious record in pop music than this, and it's not because the group is mocking rappers (in all honesty, the truly twisted barbs are hurled at frat boys and lager lads), but because they've already created their own universe and points of reference, where it's as funny to spit out absurdist rhymes and pound out "Fight for Your Right (To Party)" as it is to send up street corner doo wop with "Girls." Then, there is the overpowering loudness of the record -- operating from the axis of where metal, punk, and rap meet, there never has been a record this heavy and nimble, drunk on its own power yet giddy with what they're getting away with. There is a sense of genuine discovery, of creating new music, that remains years later, after countless plays, countless misinterpretations, countless rip-off acts, even countless apologies from the Beasties, who seemed guilty by how intoxicating the sound of it is, how it makes beer-soaked hedonism sound like the apogee of human experience. And maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but in either case, Licensed to Ill reigns tall among the greatest records of its time.
It's the fuckin' Beastie Boys, man!
One of the most entertaining debut records of all time. It has it all, extremely creative and hard-hitting funky jazzy beats, a nice variety of headbangers and funny satire of frat culture, and an edgy raw energy that is rarely seen from a contemporary hip hop outfit. Even after having listened to it many times, I never stop shaking my head and tapping my feet to Rhymin & Stealin, Fight For Your Right, No Sleep Till Brooklyn, Slow and Low and Brass Monkey, and I don't think I ever will. 5/5.
What kind of elder millennial would I be if I didn’t like this album?! I knew several songs already.
Classic style, unique production, unabashedly playful. You can try and throw this on in the background, but someone will start singing along.
Possibly the best debut album in hip-hop history. It’s hard, it’s funny, and these guys tell stories with the best, as evidenced in tracks like Paul Revere. And everyone who’s ever been a teenager can relate to Fight for Your Right. A blast from start to finish.
I love this album. I didn't even realize how much I loved it until I listened to it top to bottom (which I'm not sure I've ever actually done in a single sitting before). It's early hip-hop that's done well. The sampling, scratching, and "hyping" at its finest. But the Beastie Boys are also punk rock. They rap AND play instruments. They're angry and anti-establishment. It's also crazy to think that this was their debut album. It has so many classics on it. Well done, boys.
loved their song I want it that way 😀
Is this good, or is it just nostalgia.
This should be good but it's not the beastie boys that resonate with me
J'aurais mis 2.5 si on me laissait le faire...
This is painful to listen to. Fight for your right is the only vaguely listenable track on here, there rest is cringey, outdated and dull
The album that started it all, absolute classic
BouBou kiss kiss
This was fun. I forget how many hits this album generated (She's Crafty, Girls, FFYRTP, Brass Monkey, Paul Revere, and No Sleep til Brooklyn). Also, Aesop Rock gave a nod to Rhymin' and Stealin' in Rings. "Rhymin' and stealin' and bein' a clod. Distractions free to maraud."
You already KNOW I'm gonna give this 5 stars! Don't even need to listen to it (but I will). Absolute bangers all the way through. Definitely a bit of nostalgia playing a role, but eh. I love it!
Outstanding and Ground Breaking!
Time to get ILL
I mean, come on. This is too easy. Cuh-lassic. Although some of these hits are definitely outdated and the Boys have admitted to as much as well.
love love love
Classic. Love it. Never gets old.
It is ridiculously amazing. It is helpful to have the context that the absurdity is tongue-in-cheek , and makes the album a bit more timeless than just a frat-bro album from the 80's. The rhymin' and energy are pure fun.
Guys, I got to talk to Mike D on the phone once and he had to stop for a second to corral his kids out of the room because they were having a NERF war. Obviously, some of the hits here are silly and didn’t age so well but it’s still catchy as hell, fun, and I know most of the words without ever having even owned this record. If this is the only Beasties record on this list, I will burn this list to the ground.
yas! Zepppppp drums to start. love this album
4.6* amazing album. lots of iconic songs on here and some nostalgic tracks! great album though overall!
They don't have the right to be this good for a band that started as a joke
Nunca le había puesto tanta atención a los beastie boys que chulada chingao
Phenomenal album! Played the hell out of this as a teenager!
I've got nostalgia bias, but I love these guys. They're sort of one big satirical pisstake of hip-hop and rap-rock, but their energy and dedication is infectious, and they're always making me laugh. The way they enunciate their words really clearly makes it easy for me to get the jokes, and I can still appreciate their juvenile sense of humour since it's wrapped up in a sort of flowing rap group energy that doesn't really stop, it just jumps from one rapper to the next. These guys probably wrote most of these songs drunk, they rhyme the stupidest things and write very dumb lines, and they pad out lyrical space with lots of callbacks to other lines. However, they've got variety of rap and rock, and they've managed to keep this juvenile conceptual-callback sarcastic "my posse is the best" rap group style through their whole career, and I must say, it's grown on me. Only thing I'd mark them down for is that their beats aren't that well developed on this album, however, it was 1986 so I expect they were pioneers somewhat with their hip hop loops.
classic - didnt know the original name was "Dont be a Faggot". glad they fixed that!!!
Old School hip-hop met heel wat rock-invloeden. De nummers Girls, Fight For Your Right en No Sleep Till Brooklyn staan rug aan rug in dit album, en zijn alle 3 fantastisch, en aan persoonlijke herinneringen verbonden. Is dit een objectieve beoordeling? Misschien niet, maar toch 5/5 voor dit album!
Sí bien nunca me han llamado la atención sí es cierto que ha sido por no hacerles demasiado caso. Con este disco me revientan todos los esquemas y me vuelven fan total. Me parece una locura que hicieran esto en los ochenta. Temazos. Trepidante y rompedor. Genial.
I really enjoyed this. Loved the use of samples, guitars and the energy of it.
There's not much to add with this album, it's an amazing album that made the hip-hop genre into something more vicious with their samples of hard rock and screeching vocals. It's certainly in the upper echelons of most influential hip hop albums of the 1980's
Sweet, wicked rhymes
Amazing debut album. So Many hits on here which for a first album is impressive. Totally unique sound at the time.
Solid album all around. Best beastie boys album. Probably one of the few rappers/groups that provide humor in their songs. They come out hard and provide rap hits over and over but with rock stylings and rap punk beats. 8.8/10
Classic. Know it well. Love it.
Can't decide between this or Paul's Boutique
Simply awesome. This is a must listen.
This one doesn’t get love because of albums from Paul’s Boutique onward, but that’s unfortunate. Licensed to Ill kicks ass. It takes real skill to be that bratty.
Iconic album. Beastie boys are goats
Run DMC hires the singer from RATM
Classic rap album
An all time classic. Some of it has aged badly and been disowned by the Beastie Boys, but it's almost all classics. Girls is terrible (though I did find it funny when I was 12) but every track after that could be a single. And most of the tracks before it. It gets 4 stars - only because Paul's Boutique, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty are all better albums by the same band. If it were any other group, it'd be 5! You know what, it is a 5 I'm supposed to be objective, aren't I.
Loved it! Exactly what you expect but great nonetheless.
So good. Total perfection!
They evolved more after this, got more aware, but this album remains a classic.
Super fun, always a pleasure to bop to.
What an album!
Punk rock, metal hip hop! I love this album. Lyrics are fun and tell a story. Love the Beasties. 5
Great album, really didn't realise that Rick Rubin had produced this and the inclusion of Slayers Guitarist on "No Sleep To Brooklyn" is evidence of the broad nature of Ricks influence across music generally (Not forgetting his brilliant work with Johnny Cash of course) Amazing that these three white boys got the Hip-Hop Kudos they did but you have to love their mix of hip-hop humour and rock. As They say You Gotta "Fight For the Right" to Party! Well worth the listing in my opinion
oooooo nice. impressive debut album
Very fun album. Insane number of hits. Hard to believe it came out in the mid-80s.
loved it, Slow ride - amazing
You can tell they were having fun making this because the feeling rubs off on you.
One of my all time favorites, just so good.
Thanks, I needed that
No sleep til….
Great samples, beats, bars, and bangers. Could not ask for more out of an album
Classic and ground breaking. Good music to boot. I've listened to this often since high school. Never gets old.
Snotty dickheads grab hip-hop and stuff it in the locker. Though some of the rhymes may sound dated now and would even be disowned by the boys we should never forget - this was meant to be satirical. It still sounds fucking great. Best Tracks: The New Style; Fight For Your Right; Hold It, Now Hit It
The best rap album of all time. Enough said
Can't believe it's been 10 years since we lost MCA. This album was a favorite at sleepovers with my best friend in high school. Groundbreaking talent. Every so often, my husband's favorite radio station will play Brass Monkey. As soon as it's over, I keep going "Let it flow. Let yourself go. Slow and low. That is the tempo." I just can't help it.
Have loved this album since my bus driver played it on cassette in 4th grade
The pinnacle of stupid fun. I have so much love for this album at multiple stages in my life. I want an “infinity stars” button.
classic album IMO
Hell yea, this album just drips coolness. This thing is so jam-packed with references, samples, nods and easter eggs to music history, especially rock history, that I'm still hearing new things after dozens of listens. The constant record scratching and old school hip-hop flow do certainly date this album to a specific era. And the strained singing from the boys don't make it always palatable to the ear. Despite these shortcomings, the soul, energy and respect for musical history definitely make this album one that everybody must listen to, preferably many many times. Fav Tracks: Rhyming & Stealing, Fight For Your Right, No Sleep Til Brooklyn, Brass Monkey
Another tough one to rate. While this album doesn't hit the creative highs of later albums or show off the ambition the band is capable of, it is one of their most consistent albums.
It’s fantastic and I’ve heard it on vinyl (still have an original pressing), tape, CD, and then into high resolution digital audio. It’s garish and fantastic.
There is not an album that represents my youth more than this one. This came out when I was in middle school, and was on repeat for a very long time. This was the first album where I really started getting into music, and not just listening to what my parents had on the radio. It was, and still is, a perfect listening experience for me.
Ноу слип ту
Fucking loved it.
не смогу написать лучше, чем сашун голикова
вертушечки, йоу классный альбом, классно погуляла по райончику, почувствовав себя крутым чилипиздриком you gotta fight for your right to party
What a blast. So ahead of it’s time. Even if the rhymes are simple, the production just sounds completely unique.
One of my all time favs although nostalgia certainly plays a huge part in that. Love all the samples and am constantly realizing more and more samples as I learn new music. One of the best debut albums of all time.
Of course, Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication are better rap albums, but this album is still as entertaining as it was in the 80s, with over-the-top lyrics and rap/rock songs that are heavily influenced by Run DMC (which I hope are included in the list as well). Favourite song that even made the Dutch Top 40 at the time: No Sleep Till Brooklyn, a nice Motorhead reference and a Kerry King guitar solo (still expecting a Slayer album from the generator as well..). On a side note: Beasties Boys Book is one of the best books ever on the history of a band.
I love me some Beastie Boys I'm honestly pretty sick of Fight For Your Right at this point, but its still a fun song. There's a guest guitar solo from Slayer's Kerry King, some sampling of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, amongst others. What's not to like? I was going to give this a 4 because I think they got better after this, but just thinking about how much enjoyment I get out of this album and their career as a whole I'm bumping it to a 5. That funky monkey! RIP MCA
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