Beastie Boys Beat, 1998 -- In The Loder Files

A few tall tales from the original white-boy rap stars.

Where do old interviews go to die? Since 1988 they've gone into the MTV News vault, but we've been exhuming them to bring you these classic natterings. Here's the latest in the series, which runs every Tuesday.

The Beastie Boys brought a nose-twisting punk sensibility to rap music — not the sort of thing you might expect from a bunch of artsy New York rich kids. I remember being at a release party for their debut album, Licensed to Ill, in 1986, and watching the three of them — Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch and Mike Diamond — cackling around the room, dispensing rude remarks and random sprays of beer among the unsuspecting guests. Very punk.

But while they'd gotten their start on the CBGB/ Max Kansas City scene of the late '70s, the Beasties had made a very natural turn into rap with their 1983 club hit, "Cookie Puss." Then they signed with the fledgling Def Jam label at the behest of co-founder/ producer/ admirer Rick Rubin. Then they toured with fellow downtown club phenom Madonna (making no friends among her entourage in the process). And then, in 1986, they released their epochal debut album, the rap-rock classic Licensed to Ill — the first rap record to go to #1 on the Billboard albums chart.

With subsequent albums like Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head and Ill Communication, the Beastie Boys demonstrated that there was more to their music than snotty attitude. However, they remained the lovable, lying wiseacres they'd been from the beginning when we interviewed them in 1998, just prior to the release of their fifth album, Hello Nasty. By now, the Beasties are the longest-running major rap act in the business — and one of the most influential. Who would ever have predicted that back in the day? (Answer: nobody.)

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