Kids let loose and having fun ... white kids with a newly-discovered love of hip-hop and beats, who also happen to love rock music. There were a lot of kids like this around at the time, and someone was canny enough to encourage the Beastie Boys to pursue such a musical mix on this record. To huge commercial success.
The controversy the group attracted, especially when they toured England and got bottled off stage, attracting front-page news coverage and violence wherever they went, obscured the fact that England didn't give a flying damn about their actual music, beyond the novelty hit "Fight for Your Right to Party". So yes, the rock / hip-hop mix was novel, but their early EP releases had already hinted at such a mix in any case. It was carried through here with far more intent ... somebody had dollar signs in their eyes.
There is a cultural divide here for me. I'm an English guy who in 1986 was probably missing New Romantic music and hearing a commercial music scene in a state of flux waiting for the next new sound. The indie / alternative scene started to shift around that time, but that scene was still a good few years from making widespread commercial inroads. Then the Beastie Boys arrived with "Fight for Your Right to Party", and people thought it was fun! And cool, it was exotic and different to UK music fans, not familiar with the sounds of hip-hop in 1986. The Beastie Boys may well have been many music fans first exposure to that sound.
In America, the Beastie Boys reflected and captured two different musical strands and weaved them together. Suddenly, it was OK to admit liking hip-hop if you were a white kid, the Beastie Boys had mixed in rock beats, plus guitar lines here and there, to bring hip-hop to a new (white) audience who had previously been at best lukewarm about it. The ripples of this effect are still being felt today.
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews