Beastie Boys' 'Licensed to Ill' turns 25 years old: Is it still top rap album of '80s?
Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys turns 25 years old today. And though Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock long ago fought for their right ... to party, the question today is:
Is Licensed to Ill the best rap album of the '80s?
My first reason is to say yes. It was definitely the first rap album I bought, and remained the only album I owned for years. But how does it stack up against Run-DMC's Raising Hell and NWA's Straight Outta Compton?
Licensed to Ill was the best-selling rap album of the decade. The first to top Billboard's charts. Rolling Stone ranks it 217th on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Singles that charted included Hold It/Now Hit It, The New Style, Paul Revere, (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!) and Brass Monkey.
Raising Hell reached its 25th anniversary back in July. It was a triple-platinum seller and ranked 120th on Rolling Stone's list. Singles that charted included Walk This Way, You Be Illin', It's Tricky and My Adidas.
Straight Outta Compton is newer than its peers, having been released in 1988. It went double-platinum. And it ranks 144th on Rolling Stone's list. As far as I can tell, none of the songs charted, but that's likely because you couldn't play them on the radio.
Those are the facts. Now what about the opinions? How would you rank these three legendary rap albums?