Watch The Beastie Boys’ Documentary Celebrating 25 Years Of Ill Communication
Following the release of the Beastie Boys Book in late 2018, Michael Diamond (aka Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (aka Ad-Rock) have been in the public eye. Since the book hit store shelves, the two MC/producers expounded on the Beasties’ bitter split with Def Jam, the group very nearly calling it quits in the late 1980s, and more. The two surviving members have deliberately included the legacy of Adam “MCA” Yauch, who died from cancer in 2012. His passion for music and life is a focal point of the book, and all the surrounding press. Most recently, Diamond and Horovitz attended Austin, Texas’ South By Southwest to host a keynote event for eager fans and industry heads yearning to hear Beastie Boy lore and deep cuts.
Parts of that SxSW event saw Diamond and Horovitz speaking with Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett to recognize a significant milestone that will land this Friday, May 31, 2019: the 25th-anniversary of their fourth studio album, Ill Communication. To commemorate the date, Amazon Music produced a documentary on the 1994 Capitol Records album.
The documentary begins by detailing the critically acclaimed but commercial failure that was Paul’s Boutique, following with the group’s move into playing their own instruments for their third studio album Check Your Head, before diving into Ill Communication and the infamous Spike Jonze-directed single that set-off the album’s inception, “Sabotage.” The documentary features Brackett, Diamond and Horovitz speaking on each album and their definitive aspects that add to Beastie Boys’ musical structure and artistic outlet as a group, as well as words from frequent-collaborator Mark “Money Mark” Nishita and producer Mario “C.” Caldato talking on the group’s progression as both artists and people during each album cycle.
A notable piece within the doc mentions MCA’s lifestyle during the Ill Communication-era of The Beastie Boys, which Michael Diamond describes as “nomadic,” further explaining how the emcee embraced spiritualism and Eastern philosophies. Of course, the very feminist-forward set of bars MCA delivered on “Sure Shot” that was coolly unprecedented and humble were mentioned. The short, 9th verse rapped? “I want to say a little something that’s long overdue / The disrespect to women has got to be through / To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends / I want to offer my love and respect to the end.” Those bars are mentioned extensively in the book, which many fans and peers took as an apology for lyrics in antics from the group in the mid-late 1980s.
The short documentary is also accompanied by a playlist titled Still Ill on Amazon Music, which is available to stream for Prime members. The playlist compiles the entirety of Ill Communication, remastered, with a track-by-track commentary provided by Diamond and Horovitz.
The 1994 album featured collaborations with Q-Tip and Biz Markie, as well as the Beasties’ then DJ, Hurricane of The Afros.