Review #192: Licensed To Ill, Beastie Boys

Karla Clifton
2 min readOct 29, 2021

Review #192: Licensed To Ill, Beastie Boys

My favorite Simpsons’ character is Bart, far and away. (Well, he’s tied with Hans Moleman.) The Beastie Boys have Bart Simpson energy on this album. They’re chaotic and terrifying and hilarious, but they are low-key the smartest guys in the room.

According to the RS blurb, the B-Boys were just out of high school when this was released, which is astonishingly impressive. For a sense of what the record sounds like, the Village Voice newspaper titled their review of the album “Three Jerks Make A Masterpiece.”

This album has its sexist moments, but I’m willing to overlook them for three reasons: 1) They really rectified their attitude towards women after MCA became a Buddhist; 2) Ad-Rock is married to Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill; and 3) “Girls” is a banger.


“Rhymin & Stealin” — The first of many electric guitar riffs that rule. My interpretation is that “stealin” is shorthand for “sampling.”

“The New Style” 4 and 3 and 2 and 1! Reminds me of the intro to Broad City. “Underage girlies” reference is not so great, but I’ll tolerate it.

“Slow Ride” — Oh hey they’re doing a sample from the George Lopez theme song! Actually it’s “Low Rider” by War. But more importantly, the theme song from George Lopez.

“Girls” — Name a better xylophone hook. You can’t. GIRLS! With new wave hairdos I want GIRLS!

“Fight For Your Right” YOUR MOM THREW AWAY YOUR BEST PORNO MAG! Want to know something amazing? Slayer’s Kerry King is the guitarist on this song!

“No Sleep Till Brooklyn” — And King also does the guitar riff on this one. There’s really something visionary about the heavy metal guitars underneath the nasally call-and-response rapping.

“Paul Revere” — This has never been one of my favorite B-Boys songs, but it’s got some pretty great one-liners: My name’s Mike D and I’m about to get money. Apparently Run from Run-D.M.C. came up with the concept for this song.

“Hold It Now, Hit It” — This is the third reference to White Castle that I’ve heard. Points just for that.

“Brass Monkey” — So damn catchy.

“Time To Get Ill” WHAT’S THE TIME?


“She’s Crafty”Led Zeppelin riff! This is the only one where the lyrics got to me. I think her name is Lucy but they all call Loose. Yeah, whatever, Beastie Boys.


This needs to be the first Beastie Boys album listed. There are too many sublime songs on the back half of this album for it not to be.

Review #191: At Last!, Etta James

Review #193: Willy and the Poor Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival