Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill turns 30: What you DIDN'T hear!

From sampling fears to drug use, here's what you DIDN'T hear from the Beastie Boys' debut.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Today marks 30 years since the release of Beastie Boys' game-changing debut album Licensed to Ill. From socially expanding rap's reach to graphically pushing the limits of its subject matter, it's the project that has inspired the generations that followed to fight for their right to party while knowing the proper order of holding and hitting things.

But while memorizing "Paul Revere" and giggling at "Girls" are both still 7th grade rites of passage, there's quite a bit that was removed from Licensed to Ill before it made its way into your heart forever. Three decades later, he's what didn't quite become classic.


"I'm Down"
Probably the most mythologized of the lost LTI tracks, "I'm Down" was a contemporary hip-hop remake of an aged rock classic (The Beatles' "I'm Down" for those keeping score at home), which was the popular style at the time. By all accounts yanked from the record at the very last minute (most say it was cold feet from the Beatles' publishers objecting to it), word of the song existed for years before it began resurfacing on bootlegs in the fan community in the 90s.


"Desperado"
Originally meant for the soundtrack of the Rick Rubin directed Tougher Than Leather, the quasi-sequel to 80s hip-hop classic Krush Groove, the Beasties actually performed "Desperado" in their cameo. The soundtrack was never released, making the filmed snippet the only copy of the song in circulation until "Desperado" finally surfaced in the aughts.


"Scenario"
The more famous of the Licensed to Ill demos-turned-scrapped soundtrack songs was "Scenario," which found its way into the Christian Slater film Pump Up the Volume. Taking several cues from Schoolly D's "P.S.K. What Does it Mean?," the song largely credited with creating gangsta rap, "Scenario" is notably a bit darker in tone than the rest of LTI, even in the more cartoonish moments of "smoking my crack."


"Rock Hard"
The Beasties' first single for Def Jam, AC/DC blocked it from appearing on any future releases due to the unauthorized use of "Back in Black." When the Beasties attempted to negotiate with the band for a 1999 official re-release of the song for their Sounds of Science anthology, they were kindly rejected, citing that AC/DC "doesn't believe" in sampling. However, producer Rick Rubin claims AC/DC verbally signed off on the song originally, after hearing the track played for them backstage at a concert via Rubin's headphones.


"Fight For Your Right" (original w/ third verse)
By now we've all heard "Fight For Your Right" to the point where, honestly, some of us probably considered skipping it when revisiting it for this 30th anniversary. But for a song everybody over the age of 18 knows by heart, the very risqué cut third verse really makes hearing it now a new experience. While this original version benefits from the guitars being mixed higher, if you're low on patience, jump right to 1:40 to hear where the Beasties' partying/fighting was taken a little too far.

Next Up

protest, chauvin, george floyd

Walz: Demobilization of troops, police to happen 'as quickly as possible'

It's unclear just when troops and police will pull out of the Twin Cities.

Screen Shot 2021-04-20 at 5.33.13 PM

'The first step towards justice': AG Ellison calls for change after Chauvin conviction

Ellison's office led the prosecution of the former Minneapolis police officer.

chauvin

Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in George Floyd's death

Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Screen Shot 2021-04-20 at 4.13.07 PM

LIVE UPDATES: Reaction as Derek Chauvin is found guilty on all counts

We bring you the latest reaction after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

Derek Chauvin

Watch live: Verdict in Derek Chauvin murder trial

The verdict will be announced between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 20.

derek chauvin court - closing arguments

Verdict reached in Derek Chauvin murder trial

A verdict will be read Tuesday afternoon.

logan olson gofundme

18-month-old boy who nearly drowned welcomed home with police escort

Logan Olson was found in a retention pond in Stewartville on April 7.

covid, vaccine

Is Minnesota's latest surge plateauing? Expert says 'no idea'

Hospital admissions have leveled off in the past week, though ICU cases have risen.

Related

XXL Freshmen List 2017: 5 must-hear songs

Our picks for five songs you must hear from this crop of up-and-comers.

Catch Travis Scott's Birds in the Trap short film while you still can

Travis Scott's short film is here, and it's not what you think it is.

What you didn't know about this year's Best Rap Album Grammy nominees

Here's some fun trivia to pop off at your Grammy party.

One of the first rap-rock tracks ever turns 30

One of the first rap-metal tracks holds up three decades later as an early ode to hip-hop

Vince Staples' 'Rain Come Down' likes the Sprite in you

Sprite produced the new Vince Staples video, but it's not what you expect.

What's the hottest song to play this spring? Go 95.3 DJs weigh in

Spring is here, and our Go 95.3 DJs want to help you melt the winter leftovers.

Watch: Future turns into a teddy bear in trippy new Maroon 5 video

Future keeps it surreal in the drug-induced new Maroon 5 video.