ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Beastie Boys

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The Beastie Boys were fighting for their right to throw down long before the Shop Boyz were partying like rock stars. As the godfathers of sampling, they were chopping and screwing while Pharrell Williams was still in diapers. Reversing drum loops before Timbaland got his first 808. Bigging it up to the booty before Lil Boosie was born; feelin' on females before Sean Kingston existed, and dropping rhymes about loose ladies decades before Nelly Furtado hit her hippie phase. They donned furry suits before Gym Class Heroes' entourage zipped up theirs. Experimented with anime style before Kanye West got "Stronger." Faced east spiritually before Madonna -- whose tour they opened back in 1985 (!!) -- rocked a kimono or started going by "Esther."

Their communication was ill before 50 Cent and Justin were over the games we play with gadgets. They were holdin' it and hittin' it before Jennifer Lopez commanded you to "Hold It, Don't Drop It." Shouting out Brass Monkey years before you ever heard the word "Cristal" pumping out of the windows of a boom car.

Before Jay-Z and Biggie blew up Brooklyn and The Strokes and Interpol sabotaged lower Manhattan, the Beastie Boys were holding down New York's Lower East Side back in the days when it was easier to buy crack there than couture.

Their contributions to New York City, American music history and to punk, rock, hip-hop and to MTV are as immense as they are immeasurable -- is it even possible to consider any of the aforementioned without the legendary Mike D, MCA and Ad Rock?

So then it's fitting that, as MTV's Artist Of The Week, the on-air spots you'll see all week consist of freshly conceived mythological creatures designed specifically for the Beastie Boys. The graphic shorts feature music from the Beastie Boys' new instrumental album, The Mix-Up, with readings from new literary classics published by Harper Collins and voiced by the authors themselves. Plus, be on the lookout for clips from their DVD Awesome; I F---in' Shot That. Think of it as a post-modern Beasties subgenre: old-school sampling meets new-school hip-hop lit. Would you expect anything else but a solid script flipping from a trio of such epically gargantuan proportions?

** Check your heads, book nerds! Wanna know more about the books from the Beasties' on-air spots? The spots feature readings from the following Harper Collins books: The Spiral Dance, The Gods Drink Whiskey, The Chocolate Cake Sutra, The Reinvention of Work, The Invitation, The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show, Dharma Punx, The Alchemist and The Essential Rumi.