Editors’ Notes The Beastie Boys didn’t know Hot Sauce Committee Part Two would be their last album, of course: MCA’s cancer was reportedly treatable, and the band had settled into a comfortable routine of arena tours, festival appointments, and making records whenever they damn well felt like it. Bittersweet as the reality turned out to be, it’s also fitting: Nothing about the Beastie Boys suggested they would’ve made the rounds of pompous self-reflection and nostalgia-fueled farewell tours retirement so often inspires, let alone that they would’ve retired at all. (And even when they kinda-sorta did—the Apple TV+ documentary Beastie Boys Story and its companion Beastie Boys Book—they did it with the same charm and irreverence they did just about everything.)

Instead, the band went out more or less how they’d come in: goofing off, messing around, and transubstantiating their kinship into art. Solidly in their mid-forties, they could still pull off the same noisy (“Lee Majors Come Again”), funky (“Say It”), and all-purpose get-amped music (“Make Some Noise”) they’d been working on for 25 years. And while the old-school rap they so obviously loved was culturally in the rearview (they didn’t call it “old school” in 1986), by the 2010s, the band had been so committed to their own interests that they didn’t sound like throwbacks or pacesetters—they were just the Beastie Boys. As both Ad-Rock and Mike D pointed out during Beastie Boys Story, here were three people who got to wake up every day and go to work with their best friends. What more could you ask for?

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