Somewhere beyond the Seth Rogen tribute videos (for real Seth Rogen is on a seek & destroy mission to make so many things uncool), the decades of mindless demagoguery by normies who think "Brass Monkey" is just the greatest, and the neverending discussion about the best track off Don't Be A Faggot (yes, this was the original title for Licensed To Ill) is a band that had already been around for five years and made a name for themselves in the New York hardcore scene. Pop quiz: what happens when three Jewish kids from Brooklyn see the Bad Brains and make it their personal mission to try to sound like them? You get the Beastie Boys. The Beastie Boys formed in 1981 and chose their name solely for one reason: the trio wanted an excuse to share the same initials as Bad Brains.
For all that has been said about the genius about the Beastie Boys, much more should be said about their early years and how representative it is of what being young and new to hardcore is like. You don't know any better, so you just go along with what's happening and put your personal touch on things and hope it's enough. For Adam Yauch, Mike Diamond, and Adam Horovitz, that's what 1981 was like. Being a bunch of Jewish kids from Brooklyn coming into the New York hardcore scene, the Beastie Boys were never the hardmen that the likes of the Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, or Warzone were. They sure didn't have the talent the Bad Brains had. So when you don't have the talent or the look, what do you do? You stop caring about if its good or not and just have fun with it.
The Beastie Boys were snotty kids who threw caution to the wind on their sound. Their lyrics were silly. Their sound wasn't trying to incite any kind of violence. It was just fun. What they were able to create from the resources they had was some hardcore punk that is worth listening to even by NYHC's standards. They released the Polly Wog Stew EP in 1982. The Beastie Boys actually predate some of the most seminal NYHC bands. It is criminal to think that when people tell the story of NYHC, a lot of them gloss over the Beastie Boys' participation in it. After Polly Wog Stew, the Beastie Boys became THE INTERNATIONAL SENSATION THE BEASTIE BOYS. They would release Licensed To Ill, have like ten platinum singles and take over the world and you know what? Good for them. People grow and people change. The band that recorded Polly Wog Stew grew up. You can't expect them to stay that way forever.
Beastie Boys did return to their roots in 1995 with the hardcore punk Aglio E Olio EP. What's scary about Aglio E Oglio is that it was better Polly Wog Stew. Somehow after thirteen years and what is basically a lifetime in music years, the Beastie Boys still had it. Aglio E Olio is proof that you can go home. Included is both EPs.