20 Albums, 20 Days: Licensed to Ill

20 Albums, 20 Days: Licensed to Ill

Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons created Def Jam Recordings in the early ’80s and signed the Beastie Boys right away. The band was booed off the stage while touring with Madonna, but things would change as soon as this record was released in late 1986. The album became one of the biggest hip hop records of all time and it wasn’t a joke. Real hip hop pioneers from Chuck D to LL Cool J thought they were legit MCs and helped bring hip hop to the mainstream. The album that features their anthem “Fight For Your Right”, as well as songs that they certainly wouldn’t have recorded years later like “Girls” and “Paul Revere”.

Fun Fact: Licensed to Ill was the best selling rap album in the world for four years and then lost the crown to…MC Hammer.

Learn more about the album:

The Punk History Behind the Beastie Boys’ First Album, ‘Licensed to Ill’

Licensed to Ill: The Beastie Boys’ Complicated Legacy

More than 30 years after their split, Rick Rubin and the Beastie Boys (almost) open up

Essential video:

Listen to the album: