It’s been almost 35 years since the Beastie Boys released the all-time classic, Licensed to Ill. And while some of the record’s lyrics and antics sound dated, the album is still exceptional.

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For Beastie Boys fans, Licensed to Ill is a glimpse into the lives of MCA, Ad-Rock, Mike D and their first DJ and producer Rick Rubin. Their debut album is a pastiche of inside jokes and musical inspiration pulled from the classic rock and hip-hop records they listened to in Rick’s college dorm room.

Rick recently connected with Mike D, Ad-Rock and Spike Jonze, who directed the new Beastie Boys documentary. With Spike playing moderator, they teleport back to the early ‘80s and talk about their lives leading up to the release of “Licensed to Ill.” It’s all here—the inspiration behind “Brass Monkey,” Rick’s infamous bubble machine, and why DJ Double R bailed on the Beastie’s first big break — opening up for Madonna on her 1985 tour. 


Rick and Adam Horovitz haven’t talked in about twenty years, and like most Zoom calls, their reunion gets off to a glitchy start. Mike D kicks things off.