When it was originally released in 1989, the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique was considered a commercial disaster. As the follow-up to their breakthrough debut Licensed to Ill, Paul’s was supposed to stick to the trio’s party-hearty formula and propel the crew to superstar status. Instead, it enjoyed brief success before disappearing off the charts. Years later it would become a cult favorite, but as Dan LeRoy writes in his 33 1/3 book on Paul’s Boutique, by flipping the script, leaving behind producer Rick Rubin and focusing on sample-heavy beats, the Beastie Boys changed the face of rap forever.
Now you can discover the story behind Paul’s for free: Download a no-cost copy of the entire 33 1/3 as an audiobook right now, thanks to Audible.com — and check out a sample right here:
In our snippet, listen as the Beasties went against their label, Capitol’s wishes and risked alienating their new fans with the densely layered collages of “Johnny Ryall” and “High Plains Drifter” — a move that cost many who previously championed the band to lose their jobs.
The audiobook follows the recent reissue of Paul’s Boutique, which featured an audio commentary recorded by the Beasties and made available through their Website. The Beastie Boys are currently at work on their next studio album, and will play pretty much every festival this summer, including Bonnaroo, All Points West, Outside Lands, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.