This is a type of kinda like a formal dedication

I had the pleasure of discovering the Beastie Boys twice, which makes them unique among the bands I love. The second discovery came in my mid-20s, through my youngest brother. We’d taunt each other with lyrics from Hello Nasty while playing videogames and scream along with “Sabotage” as I gunned it down the Meadowbrook Parkway. The first discovery came at 10: a License to Ill cassette, used, from a future uncle. I knew nothing about hip-hop or metal, but I could sense the intoxicating, anarchic glee in the music the Beasties made.

Before my 12th birthday Ill Communication exploded. I almost believed the whining dog in “Sure Shot” lived in our house. MTV couldn’t play the fake cop show video for “Sabotage” often enough. It was hilarious, exciting, an extension of the Beasties’ personalities that had nothing to do with the song but fit with it perfectly.

Ill Communication just turned 20 years old, and it’s still my favorite of their albums: a half-dozen great singles bridged by funky, enervating musical meditations. I can’t think of anything like the montage of Buddhist chanting and rapping that ends the album. Maybe the Beatles’ “Love You To?”

Someone once said the Beasties grew up without becoming less fun. How many bands manage that? I treasure them more at 32 but don’t enjoy them less. I didn’t know it and neither did they, but they were creating a template for how I wanted to grow up.

Giving a shoutout for much inspiration.

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