On May 23, 1994, the Beastie Boys dropped their fourth studio album. Ill Communication would eventually sell somewhere around 5 million copies and become one of the essential albums in any Gen Xer’s collection. Grantland takes an in-depth look at one of the band’s greatest works.
Two decades ago, just about exactly this time of year, Beastie Boys releasedIll Communication. Their fourth album, the last to be recorded primarily in Los Angeles before the crew came home to New York, wasn’t only the most seamless synthesis of what this strange band could do — 60-second hardcore and supreme ’70s flute rock and stoned jazz-bongo solos and, of course, good ol’ shit-talking rap music — but also, quite possibly, its most joyous. Herewith, a scattered appreciation.