Hip-Hop legends, the Beastie Boys, are the center of a new short documentary from Amazon Music. The group has been doing a lot of reflecting in the past few years, including releasing a memoir in late 2018, as mxdwn previously covered, and announcing an event tour titled Beastie Boys Story As Told By Michael Diamond & Adam Horovitz, earlier this year, as also reported by mxdwn.
“Still Ill: 25 Years of ‘Ill Communication’ by the Beastie Boys” centers around their 1994 album Ill Communication for the 25th anniversary of the game-changing, record breaking album that introduced the world to hits like the lead single “Sabotage”. According to a press release sent to mxdwn;
“Surviving members Adam ‘Adrock’ Horovitz and Michael ‘Mike D’ Diamond sat down and reflected on the making of the album with Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett.” The documentary also features archived footage from the band’s keyboard player Mark “Money” Nishita and producer Mario Caldato.
The 14 minute mini-doc highlights the band’s history, from their rocky past after their sophomore 1989 album Paul’s Boutique flopped to the point of choosing not to even tour with it, only playing small venues with a handful of people, to their massive mainstream success both in the charts and from fans.
Per the documentary, after the critical hit to their careers after Paul’s Boutique flopped, they decided that the next album they were going to take their time perfecting it and they weren’t going to waste as much money, opting to do without going to the studio everyday, and finding their own space to work in. During their time crafting their next album, they listened to music from the 1970s, like James Brown and The Meters, and they pulled some inspiration from them. With their own space, which included a skate ramp and a basketball hoop, and inspiration from the 1970s, the band created their next album, Check Your Head in 1992, which was met with praise from fans and the Beastie Boys decided to tour again.
Right after the tour for Check Your Head, they went straight back to the studio, armed with more records and ready to create. By the time they got to Ill Communication, they knew what to do and more importantly, what not to do. They said that they were able to put “weird sh*t” on their records, and that is what they like to do. Ill Communication found inspiration from feminist ideals, travel, and most importantly, aiming to inspire and have fun. The album was met with positive reactions from both fans and critics alike, and the Beastie Boys went from playing for five people, to playing for 50,000 people.
Per the description of the YouTube video, in addition to the mini-doc, there is an audio documentary, sharing the same name, which only subscribers of Amazon Music have access to. The audio documentary features a more in-depth interview with Horovitz and Diamond and six songs from Ill Communication.