Recommended Reading Week: Beastie Boys Book Is More Than a Slice of ‘Za

Long before every second rapper had “Lil'” in their name, face tattoos and a Soundcloud account, there were Beastie Boys. Mike D, the King Ad-Rock and MCA (RIP, 6+ years later) were true hip hop pioneers, mainstreaming a still-nascent genre in the late-’80s with Licensed to Ill and continuing to influence generations of rhymers and stealers until Adam Yauch’s illness sadly forced the band to call it quits in 2009. If I didn’t know better, I would totally believe if someone told me one of the Beasties was Eminem’s father.

So how the heck did these three nice Jewish MC’s go from being about as hardcore punk as one can get to selling out the world with a quirkily unique brand of poetry-meeting-alternative rock as heard on solid gold hits such as “Ch-Check It Out”? Never mind finding the time in between to become music philanthropists who hung with the Dalai Lama through their Tibetan Freedom Concert initiative. All the questions you could possibly have about Beastie Boys are answered in their New York City phone book-sized autobiography. There are memory-jogging photos, celebrity-penned essays, a mini graphic novel, recipes, playlists…and apologies for past sexist behaviour directed squarely at former member Kate Schellenbach.

Beastie Boys Book would make a great Christmas or Hanukkah gift for the “RAPthusiast” in your life. It’s even on sale for 40% off this week at!

Gilles LeBlanc

Gilles LeBlanc literally fell into “alternative rock” wayyy back at Lollapalooza 1992, where he got caught in his first mosh pit watching some band named Pearl Jam. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his life looking for music to match the liberating rush he felt that day, with a particular chest-beating emphasis on stuff coming out of his native Canada. It took him awhile, but Gilles now writes feverishly about all things that rock (and or roll) through his ROCKthusiast alter ego.

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