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The Beastie Boys debut album “Licensed to Ill” was the first No. 1 rap album

The Beastie Boys‘ debut album Licensed to Ill, which was released on November 15, 1986 by Def Jam and Columbia Records, was the first rap album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

Rick Rubin went from DJing for Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and the late Adam “MCA” Yauch, to producing, to signing them to his label, Def Jam Recordings, which he co-founded with Russell Simmons in 1984.

Read: Rick Rubin founded Def Jam Records in his NYU dorm room

Licensed to Ill was certified platinum on February 2, 1987 and reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts the following month on March 7. This was a significant moment for hip-hop, as an album from the genre never topped the chart before. The album had seven singles and the title was a pun on the James Bond film, License To Kill. Licensed to Ill has sold over 10 million copies and was certified Diamond by the RIAA on March 4, 2015.

Beastie Boys debut album "Licensed to Ill" was the first No. 1 rap album

The album’s cover art was done by collage artist World B Omes, the plane’s serial number, 3MTA3, reads like “EATME” backwards.

Beastie Boys “Licensed to Ill” tracklist

  1. “Rhymin & Stealin”
  2. “The New Style”
  3. “She’s Crafty”
  4. “Posse in Effect”
  5. “Slow Ride”
  6. “Girls”
  7. “Fight for Your Right”
  8. “No Sleep till Brooklyn”
  9. “Paul Revere”
  10. “Hold It Now, Hit It”
  11. “Brass Monkey”
  12. “Slow and Low”
  13. “Time to Get Ill”