30 Years Ago Today: First Hip-Hop Album Tops Billboard Chart
On March 7, 1987, The Beastie Boys “Licensed To Ill” became the first hip-hop album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts. It’s only appropriate we celebrate the Beastie Boys confident crossover from punk to full fledged rap legends.
“Licensed To Ill” dropped only a year earlier in November 1986 on Def Jam Records, immediately charting, but peaking at the number one spot just five months later.
This, by all standards, was huge.
With frat party hits like “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)” and “No Sleep till Brooklyn,” The Beastie Boys break out album was destined for greatness and is regarded as one of the best albums of all time.
It was The Beastie Boys that made this style of raunchy fun rap music exciting for mainstream listeners.
With over 9 million copies sold to date, it’s no wonder why. The famed classic, “Brass Monkey,” was yet another hit single credited off the album, becoming an instant classic with its questionably absurd, yet timeless lyrics.
“Licenced To Ill” indefinitely shaped the future of hip-hop, paving way for a kind of re-definition of alternative cool as a stylistic practice.