|The New York Times (29 December 1986) - Jon Pareles:
Dumb fun, bad attitudes and rude noise are vital to rock-and-roll, and
as the music absorbs one shock tactic, along comes another. Right now,
there's a new kind of rude rock in the making. It mixes two styles
that grate on parents and appeal directly to teen-agers: rap and heavy
metal. Run-D. M. C. pioneered rap-metal music with "Rock Box"; the
Beastie Boys, abetted by Run-D. M. C.'s producer, Rick Rubin, have
made rap-metal music a vehicle for teen-agers' jokey, antisocial
fantasies. On their album, "Licensed to Ill," the three Beastie Boys
- King Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz), Mike D (Michael Diamond) and the
hoarse-voiced MCA (Adam Yauch) - are loudmouthed brats backed by loud
guitars and a lean rhythm-box beat.
On stage Friday at the Ritz, the Beastie Boys did their best to live
up to "Licensed to Ill." As they shouted rhymes, danced the "Jerry
Lewis" and shambled around the stage, the Boys - wearing red, white
and blue T-shirts - poured beer on one another's heads and spewed it
into the audience. Meanwhile, two disk jockeys, Hurricane and Mr.
Bill, played backup tracks (including a bit of the "Mister Ed"
theme), a woman named Eloise danced in a cage, and unnamed bouncers
repulsed the audience members who repeatedly climbed onstage.
Although the Beastie Boys used to devote a good part of their sets to
audience-baiting, they now stick more closely to their raps, which are
alternately bragging and slapstick. In "Hold It, Now Hit It," MCA
shouts, "I'm a killer at large and I'm on the loose." In the more
realistic "Fight for the Right (to Party)," the Beastie Boys
complain about parents, high-school teachers and undone homework.
The Beastie Boys aren't exactly original - they rap in the cadences of
Run-D.M.C. - and compared to such calmly amoral rappers as Schooly D,
they're virtually a comedy act. Yet for the moment, the Beastie Boys'
crafty backup tracks and personal bravado promise to put sheer
obnoxiousness back in the rock-and-roll spotlight.