The Icon: The Beastie Boys
Spending three decades in the public eye is no easy thing, especially when you’re lashed to a scene as ephemeral as old-school rap or hardcore punk. Or both. So we’d like to raise a glass to the Boys of Beastie, who have weathered the storm better than anyone could have expected, and emerged in the 21st century as models for what hip, punk-inflected 40-year-olds look like. Here are five high points, for your perusal.
Filas and snapbacks. White socks and boom boxes. It was a simpler time, so simple that even Ad-Rock is looking downright cherubic.
This is the look circa “Fight for Your Right,” and the first of many costumes. Note the ’90s flannels in particular; even in ’86, they were ahead of their time.
Grunge hit the Beasties hard, but instead of disappearing into disarray, they used it as a chance to mix and match some of their favorite styles from days gone by. Check out the Madchester parka on Mr. Yauch in the middle or the surprisingly preppy Mike D on the right. Not bad for three guys trying not to try too hard.
More than anything, they understand the value of a good costume. They’ll regularly show up onstage in track suits or full-on “Sabotage” gear. And irony or no, they always make it work.
And finally, the Beastie in its dotage. They’re grown men now, with wives and children and film companies. They’re still cooler than your average dad, but they’re not afraid to show a little gray, or a little maturity. Compare that to their ’80s contemporaries—Metallica or the Chili Peppers, for instance—and that’s pretty damn good.
- — Russell Brandom