For the MTV Generation, the Beastie Boys occupy a special place in the cultural imagination. They were hip-hop anomalies—three Jewish boys from New York City who, through their relentless creativity, imagination, and sheer force of will, grew to become one of the greatest rap groups of all time. You followed these former punk-rock kids (BEASTIE hilariously stands for “Boys Entering Anarchistic States Toward Internal Excellence”) on their wild ride from the beer-spraying caricatures of “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” to avant-garde video artists to woke OGs.
That journey is captured by their longtime collaborator Spike Jonze in Beastie Boys Story, a new concert documentary streaming on Apple TV+. Filmed at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre last year, the film sees surviving members Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) and Mike Diamond (Mike D) reflect on their evolution from the immature dudes who objectified women and wanted to name their debut album Don’t Be a Faggot to the progressive feminists they are today, thanks in large part to the outsize influence of their dearly departed bandmate, Adam Yauch (MCA).
The Daily Beast caught up with Ad-Rock and Mike D—via Zoom, naturally—to discuss the current pandemic, the Beastie Boys’ legacy, and the Trump of it all.