Licensed to Ill is the debut album by the Beastie Boys, released in 1986. It was the first rap rock LP to top the Billboard album chart. It was also one of Def Jam Records’ fastest-selling debut records to date and eventually sold over 9 million copies in the United States.
In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source‘s 100 Best Rap Albums.
It is still the only album by a white hip-hop act to receive the coveted 5 mics from The Source.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 217 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was also ranked by Rolling Stone as the greatest debut album of all time.
Vibe – Included in Vibe’s 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century.
Q – 4 stars – “Licensed to Ill remains the world’s only punk rock rap album, arguably superior toNever Mind the Bollocks…knowing that apathy and slovenliness were just around the corner.”
Melody Maker – Bloody Essential – “There’s lots of self-reverential bragging, more tenuous rhymes than are usually permitted by law and, most importantly of all, an unshakably glorious celebration of being alive.… A surprisingly enduring classic.”
In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at #16 in its list of “40 Best Albums of the ’80s”.
In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #12 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s” saying “Rife with layer upon layer of sampling, start-stop transitions, and aggressive beats, it helped transform the genre from a direct dialogue between MC and DJ into a piercing, multi-threaded narrative” and “helped set an exciting template for the future”.