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Licensed To Ill

4.7 out of 5 stars 372 customer reviews

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Licensed To Ill
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Audio CD, March 28, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Universal Music Catalogue are re-pressing and re-issuing a series of classic albums from Def Jam, the most groundbreaking and inspired hip hop and urban music label of a generation. Drawing on its hugely impressive catalogue, created in the 21 years since

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The joke of Licensed to Ill's cover--that the Beasties could crash their jet into the side of a mountain and keep on tickin'--serves as a good metaphor for a career that even some of their 1986 admirers thought might be over after the one-time-only shock of this full-length debut. That thousands of funk-junkie wannabes have since failed at re-creating its groove, breaking-the-law vibe, and ear-splitting mix of rock and rap is an even better joke. And funniest of all is the record itself, which packs dexterous boasts, aural puns, and lots and lots of yelling into a disc that can still be listened to with as much pleasure as it gave in '86. --Rickey Wright
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 28, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Def Jam
  • ASIN: B0000024JN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (372 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By G.C. on January 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
It's hard to believe, but sometimes true that what goes around, comes around. I saw the Beasties on stage in London in September 1986 (with Run DMC and LL Cool J) shortly after this album came out (they were last on the bill and played only three songs, including "Slow and Low" and "Fight For Your Right"). The prevailing opinion at the time was that "Licensed To Ill" was one of the most obnoxious releases in the history of music. But what a party! The Beastie Boys seemed like a one-hit wonder when they changed record labels and took three years to release their follow up (Paul's Boutique), plus the fact these white boys were being universally panned by most of the rap community. But the Boys must be having the last laugh, and listening to this album again, it still sounds good. I am amazed at all the kids that weren't even born in '86 are discovering this record, which attests to the band's endurance, although the band owes a lot to Rick Rubin, their producer who meshed the Boys' brashness with great sound samples. As a parent I can say that, based on the feedback I've read here, if you are trying to decide on a music purchase for your teenager, this may do the trick.
Comment 28 of 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Way back when Eminem was bully bait during his school years, three Jewish dudes called the Beastie Boys released this impressive debut that made them the first (and, in my opinion, best) white rappers in hip hop. But make no mistake, "License to Ill" is rude, obnoxious, and sometimes offensive by today's PC standards, but if you can take it with a grain of salt, it's also fun to listen to. "The New Style" is undeniably funky and has the Boys in top form. "Paul Revere" is also pretty good with its drum machine played in reverse, and "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" is a fine melange of amped-up guitars and hip hop beats. "Fight For Your Right" was the group's biggest hit, but it pales in comparison to the rest of the album. "License to Ill" was all about drugs, women, and disrespecting any and all figures of authority. However, these guys eventually matured by phasing out of their juvenile lyrics and releasing even better albums, including the now-classic "Paul's Boutique." All in all, a promising debut that's aged well over the years.
1 Comment 55 of 63 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I loved this CD when it first came out and still love it today. I have most everything that the Beastie Boys have recorded, and I agree that much of what they did later is superior. For example, Hello Nasty is a much more diverse and impressive work. However, I think that it's a mistake comparing their initial work with their later work. Licensed to Ill was a huge rap breakthrough. Without CD's like Licensed to Ill, rap would not have broken into the mainstream, at least not then. The Beasties personify old school rap and many people were disappointed with their later work and wanted them to record more music like Licensed to Ill.
While the raps and grooves seem a bit simplistic 16 years after its release, it still sounds great. "Fight for Your Right" was and is a classic party theme. I also love "Brass Monkey." What's amazing about this CD is how many of the songs became classics (Fight for your right, Brass Monkey, Paul Revere, Hold it now, Slow & Low). Throw on this CD and just enjoy it.
Comment 24 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
In response to Rickey Wright's editorial review (this guy's an editor and didn't see this?)...

The joke, Mr. Wright, is not them crashing their jet into the side of a mountain and surviving, but rather what the image turns into when you unfold the album cover and hold it length-wise with the tail-end up. It's the image of a 'joint' being mashed out (like a cigarette in an ashtray). So I think the genius behind it works, making the obvious - unobvious.

Also, the call letters on the rear of the plane (3MTA3) actually spell 'EAT ME' when viewed in reverse - which is what is usually done when you're smokin' a fatty and 'Jake' is on ya.

As for the album itself - CLASSIC! True Beastie Boy gold!
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Format: Audio CD
Sure it was overplayed in the 80's, but if you just listen to it, without all of the baggage from the time it was recorded and played (to death) it is really a great album. Every song grooves, the samples and perfect. It is great to hear them develop their own styles throughout their careers.
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Format: Audio CD
I spent [a lot] on this thinking there would be some outtakes from the album or something new, but the japanese pressing is much like the us pressing with the only exception being that the cd is an lp cd which means that the cd looks like a record. Another reason this didn't get 5 stars was because it doesn't include all the original artwork from the original lp. It should of included all original artwork, plus some bonus tracks like I'm down, scenrio, she's on it, and rock hard, all of which were from the def jam era of the beastie boys. Although the album is great, don't expect anything new other than the lyrics and the cardboard cover. there are no new tracks on this, so waste your money on something else like paul's boutique or ill communication. You can probably get both of those great albums [for the same amount].
1 Comment 12 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Perhaps Licensed to Ill was inevitable - a white group blending rock and rap, giving them the first number one album in hip-hop history. But that reading of the album's history gives a short shrift to the Beastie Boys; producer Rick Rubin and his label, Def Jam; and this remarkable record, since mixing metal and hip-hop isn't necessarily an easy thing to do. Just sampling and scratching Sabbath and Zeppelin to hip-hop beats does not make for an automatically good record, though there is a visceral thrill to hearing those muscular riffs put into overdrive with scratching.

But, much of that is due to the producing skills of Rick Rubin, a metalhead who formed Def Jam Records with Russell Simmons and had previously flirted with this sound on Run-D.M.C.'s Raising Hell, not to mention a few singles and one-offs with the Beasties prior to this record. He made rap rock, but to give him lone credit for Licensed to Ill (as some have) is misleading, since that very same combination would not have been as powerful, nor would it have aged so well - aged into a rock classic - if it weren't for the Beastie Boys, who fuel this record through their passion for subcultures, pop culture, jokes, and the intoxicating power of wordplay. At the time, it wasn't immediately apparent that their obnoxious patter was part of a persona (a fate that would later plague Eminem), but the years have clarified that this was a joke - although, listening to the cajoling rhymes, filled with clear parodies and absurdities, it's hard to imagine the offense that some took at the time. Which, naturally, is the credit of not just the music - they don't call it the devil's music for nothing - but the wild imagination of the Beasties, whose rhymes sear into consciousness through their gonzo humor and gleeful delivery.
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Licensed To Ill
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