When I was 12, I began listening to rap music. It was the preferred choice of my peers, with, of course, whatever pop music happened to racing up the Billboard charts. I explored all the usual suspects of modern rap: Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, etc. This exploration rap didn’t last long – I was soon introduced to Marilyn Manson, and all interest in the genre vanished. It would therefore be disingenuous of me to say that the Beastie Boys had much of anything to do with my childhood. Their music didn’t get me through any hardships, and I have no fond memories of good times being sound tracked by their beats.
It wasn’t until I was getting ready to leave high school that I came to the Beastie Boys. Not as a fan of rap — I was spurred by an appreciation for sampling and electronic artists – and was looking for something both unique and catchy. Catchy as hell. Years later I can say with all certainty that their 1994 effort, Ill Communication, is not only one of the best albums of the genre, but it may be the single greatest celebration of music that I have ever heard. My future seemingly changed forever; my time as a rap fan is long gone. My deep appreciation and love for the Beasties, however, has changed the way that I listen to music.
“Yeah, MCA, your shit be cooking.”