On July 25, 1989, the Beastie Boys released their second album, Paul’s Boutique. This was the follow-up to the massively successful Licensed to Ill, the first-ever rap album to reach number one on the charts. The problem was that Paul’s Boutique was considered a failure.
People wanted more songs like “Fight For Your Right to Party” and “Girls” but what they got instead was a dense, complex album filled with samples and sound collages. The album was a stiff and the Beasties were written off for a couple of years.
But then a weird thing happened: people began to realize how far ahead this album was artistically, creatively, and technically. It’s now considered to be among the most influential records of all time. And now it’s been memorialized in a special way.
The cover art is a scene from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. That intersection of Ludlow and Rivington has been named Beastie Boys Square.