The Beastie Boys helped establish hip-hop as the dominant force we know today with their emphatic 1986 debut release Licensed To Ill. That album was a breath of fresh air and gave the group a platform to build on, but, it also gave people the wrong idea of what The Beastie Boys were. Although their debut effort is the one that is often called their finest hour — Ad Rock’s favourite record by the band is a more left-field pick.
In 2018, The Beastie Boys released a book that told their vast story over 500-pages and fans quickly devoured every last page. They took in this whole breadth of precious information about the previously kept band behind closed doors. Following Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch’s tragic death in 2012, his bandmates Adam ‘Ad-Rock’ Horowitz and Michael ‘Mike-D’ Diamond felt that they couldn’t carry on without their fallen friend and called it a day. However, they decided that writing a book together was the perfect way to end The Beastie Boys story.
The book is full of revelations that make for a fascinating read whether you are a Beastie Boys fanatic or somebody with a passing interest in their music. An example of the gold on offer is that ‘Beastie’ derives from the acronym ‘Boys Entering Anarchistic States Toward Internal Excellence’. As Mike-D writes, “While the acronym alone made no sense, it made even less sense when combined with ‘Boys’, since the acronym already contained that word; now the name was ridiculous and redundant. (And also incorrect, since we had a girl drummer.)”
Whilst that nugget of information sums up the Beastie Boys’ irreverent nature, they also talk about the pieces of work throughout their career they were most proud of. Ad-Rock revealed in the book, that 1998 masterpiece Hello Nasty was his favourite out of the eight that the Beastie Boys created during their incredible career together.
Creating the record began back in 1995 and took over two years for the Beastie Boys to finish the album. However, the long wait for a brand new body of work by New York’s finest was well worth the wait, and it saw the band break boundaries once more, over a decade since they dropped their first record.
“It has the song ‘Intergalactic’, and that song is the fucking jam, right?! It’s our best record/cover artwork,” Ad-Rock wrote in the publication. “Hello Nasty was where we were headed. Interplanetary and outer space. It was the end of an era. It was the beginning of a new chapter, sure, but after this, things were different. After this we were grown-ups. Innocence passed at such a mass and rapid rate that after this there was only looking back at this.”
As Ad-Rock points out, Hello Nasty was an end of an era and, after this record, the band would finally graduate to adulthood. It would be eight-years until they would deliver another album and although they would record three more albums after Hello Nasty, that innocence of youth had worn off. Although their last three albums still had Beastie Boys’ greatness engrained into them, Hello Nasty feels like the final true masterpiece that they created.