The Beastie Boys were pretty great at staying on top of new trends. When they saw that their frat boy schtick wasn’t a sustainable career choice on License to Ill, they jumped ship to the sampledelia of The Dust Brothers on Paul’s Boutique. While the rest of the world were trying to catch up to that album, the Beasties were already three steps ahead, paying tribute to their punk roots on tracks like ‘Sabotage’. Hell, they even possibly invented the term “mullet”. Nobody could match the Beasties and their foresight.
So, when the band were offered a guest spot on the first season of an upstart adult animation show called Futurama, of course the Beastie Boys were smart enough to say yes.
To be fair, Futurama had quite a bit of hype surrounding it. Series creator Matt Groening had created the biggest cultural cartoon of the modern-day with The Simpsons, and so it was generally accepted that anything he touched turned to gold. Even though the series was mainly the brainchild of co-creator David X. Cohen, Futurama premiered with an unprecedented 11.2 Nielsen rating.
By the time the series reached its ninth episode, ‘Hell Is Other Robots’, the show had already started to dip in terms of viewership. Those who expected another Simpsons were befuddled by the more cerebral and less wacky sci-fi focus of Futurama, and the show never managed to top the numbers it pulled in for its debut.
That didn’t mean that the series’ quality dipped. Quite the contrary: while ‘Space Pilot 3000’ laboured to introduce the plot, characters, and setting of the show, ‘Hell Is Other Robots’ began to let loose and stretch out, including bringing in a wild religion-focus plot that finds indulgent robot Bender encounter The Robot Devil and bargain his life in a fiddle contest.
Before any of that, though, the characters make it to a Bestie Boys concert at Madison Cube Garden. Old celebrities are able to make cameos as various heads in jars, showing that Futurama had plenty of wackiness of its own. Unfortunately, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch was unavailable for recording, so Adam ‘Ad-Rock’ Horovitz recorded his lines for him.
The band break out a few of their signature songs, including ‘Intergalactic’, ‘Super Disco Breakin’, and a brief a capella version of ‘Sabotage’ before the Planet Express crew get up to their unrelated shenanigans. Check out their cameo in the clip down below.