In the first essay dedicated to the Beastie Boys, I discussed the importance within their music. They were the first group to really successfully push a hybrid sound by mixing rap with rock and yes, I am going beyond Run DMC and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” collaboration. They also proved to be “kings of sampling” with the Paul Boutique album. Still, many other groups have either sampled them or built a sound around those said samples. Musically, the group holds a centrifugal force on hip hop .
Still, there is more to this group that deserves discussion. Much of their true impact goes way beyond the music that they made. Much of their impact deals with how they actually inspired other artists. In addition, a good amount of their influence has nothing to do with music at all. Many try to pigeonhole some artists as just musicians. Remarkably, the Beastie Boys were great musicians and even greater human beings.
White Boy Hip Hop
Whether people want to admit it or not, the Caucasian persuasion in hip hop did not start with Eminem. It actually started with the Beastie Boys. We all know that white boys were not the prominent idea in hip hop when Beastie Boys dropped Licensed to Ill. In fact, outside of a few label owners and producers, hip hop was practically “all black”. So, the cultivation of the Beastie Boys gave light to the idea that all colors both enjoy and create hip hop music.
Now, it is time to look at this realistically: hip hop music would not have benefitted from many other white artists if not for the Beastie Boys. Do you really think 3rd Bass could have blessed us with “The Gas Face”? Would House of Pain make us “Jump Around”? How about Eminem’s entire career revolving around his “8 Mile Style”? Would Mac Miller even be able to make things happen with Rostrum Records and get a verbal endorsement from Donald Trump? None of this would have ever been possible. Thus, without the Beastie Boys, white people doing hip hop would be wholly unrealistic.
Working for the rights of other humans ran through the blood of the group. The Beastie Boys fought for the freedom of Tibet from Chinese rule. Through their Tibetan Freedom Concerts, they managed to raise millions for the cause. Due to health concerns, MCA (Adam Yauch) saw Tibetan doctors to fight his ailments (mainly cancer). Knowing that he still had to fight for the rights of others, he managed to still work the charitable situation while working on his own health. Spiritually, the Beastie Boys found much ease through serving others.
There are other notable charitable situations that involved the Beastie Boys. In 2005, the Beastie Boys hosted a concert in Manhattan to raise money for the ASPCA and Rational Animal, an organization devoted in raising awareness about at-risk animals in New York City. Also, they organized the New Yorkers Against Violence show in response to 9/11. They have even been known to support Live Earth, The Lunchbox Fund, and the Food Bank for New York City. It can be easily said that the Beastie Boys always worked to give back to their home city of New York and others in the world.
The Beastie Boys were more than just a rap band. They were hip hop’s servants of the common man. No matter where their music went, they always worked for the sake of helping others. Their musical influence opened the door for other artists. It would be a crime to write them off as “just another band”. Conclusively, the Beastie Boys should be recognized as legends that gave their best so others could live and grow.
‘Nuff said and ‘Nuff respect!!