Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Paul’s Boutique

Beastie Boys


The Beasties go Hollywood and upend the entire idea of hip-hop.

In 1989, sampling in hip-hop was in its Wild West period, before lawsuits slowed the free-for-all with a morass of legal hurdles. As it turns out, in 1989, the Beastie Boys were also in their Wild West period, having decamped from their native NYC to the Hollywood Hills to reap the many benefits of Licensed to Ill’s runaway success. Paul’s Boutique is the frenetic and fried collision of these two concurrent phenomena.

“We decided to put every crazy idea that we had in the record.”

Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz

Beastie Boys

Following a messy split with Def Jam Records and Rick Rubin, the Beasties tapped LA duo The Dust Brothers for production duties. Over their kaleidoscopic barrage of vintage funk and soul samples (some obscure, all soon to be cost-prohibitive), as well as a snippet of The Beatles’ “The End,” Mike D, MCA, and King Ad-Rock reveled in the primal joys of hedonism, vandalism, and having “a beard like a billy goat.” It didn’t sound like anything they had done before or like anything anyone else had done before; it also was a massive commercial flop. Three years later, they’d swap potentially litigious sampling for live instruments, reinventing themselves for the third time in three albums. But Paul’s Boutique remains a monument to the art of sampling, and a pinnacle of hip-hop at its most inventive and mischievous.