Beastie Boys helped power hip-hop into the mainstream when the genre was in its infancy. Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock notched the first rap album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart back in 1987 with Licensed to Ill. Vulture caught up with Diamond for an in-depth conversation regarding the transformation today's hip-hop and how his life has changed over the course the last three decades.
“I always felt like rap would become popular, but I didn’t foresee it becoming as mainstream as it is,” Mike D said. “With current rap, there’s nothing that makes it not pop. Obviously, certain rappers are going to make poppier records and certain rappers are going to be more esoteric, but I never would’ve thought that rappers could be the Lionel Richies their day.”
When the conversation continued about rap finding its way into pop music, Mike D never thought “JAY-Z or Migos would be in that same position — not in terms music, but in terms universal acceptance. I did foresee that we’d get something like an OutKast — rap that could sell millions and still feel not pop. But now we’re in a stage where rap isn’t separate from pop, which is amazing,” he adds.
The 52-year-old has been waiting to find something in music that his kids could relate to but he didn't care for. That day came when his children took a liking to the eccentric New Orleans hip-hop duo $uicideBoy$. “It’s really loud, I can’t really relate, I don’t really want to listen to it,” he admits. “I understand exactly why it’s good and I see exactly the music it’s combining, but I don’t need to participate and I’m good with that.”
Read the revealing interview in its entirety over at Vulture. The Beastie Boys' memoir is expected to arrive later this year.