Our Top 10 Beastie Boys Album Covers will look at a legendary rap act who got together in the late 70s. The rap group rose to fame in the 80s. The group consisted of Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “MCA” Yauch and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz. They were originally a hardcore punk band called the Young Aborigines. They achieved success in 1983 when they released the single “Cooky Puss.” After they released the single, they decided to switch to hip hop music. They were the first act to have a number one hip hop album. The group sold over 20 million records worldwide. They are the biggest selling rap group of all time. They have seven platinum albums. They are the first rap group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have won awards throughout their career. The Beastie Boys have been influential in hip hop and rock music. Eminem, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, Sublime, as well as others have considered the Beastie Boys their influences.
The Beastie Boys were groundbreaking and so were their album covers. They don’t just use headshots for their album covers. They use imagery and location shots to represent their albums. They also appeared on some of their album covers. They don’t just allow other designers to take over their album covers. They didn’t just have a mind for music. They had a mind for visual art as well. They wanted input on the covers as well. They designed some of their album covers. The Beastie Boys may be considered goofy but there is nothing goofy about their music or their album covers. There was a method to their madness. Our Top 10 Beastie Boys Album Covers will pay tribute to the group.
# 10 – Beastie Boys Music
The first pick on our Top 10 Beastie Boys Album Covers list is Beastie Boys Music. Beastie Boys Music is the Beastie Boys’ fifth compilation album. The Beastie Boys stopped recording together when Adam “MCA” Yauch passed away. They decided to release compilation albums. The album cover features the group sitting in the backseat of a car. Mike D is on the left, MCA is in the middle and Ad-Rock is on the right. Two of the members are wearing sunglasses and jackets while one is holding his jacket by his knee. Mike D’s picture is taken from the left side of his face while the other two are faced forward. The shot looks as if it was taken during the day because you could see the light coming from the back window.
Photographer Danny Clinch took a natural picture of the Beastie Boys . He showed a serious, but playful side of the group. They didn’t want to take a normal headshot. Danny Clinch used dark colors of the band. The only light colors are the light shining in the car and MCA’s outfit. This looks like a casual picture of three guys sitting in a car. The picture is simple, but they look good in it. Danny Clinch is a photographer and film director. He has worked with the Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen, Audioslave, John Mayer, Pearl Jam, Public Enemy, Heavy D & The Boyz, Erick Sermon, Iggy Pop, as well as others. Beastie Boys Music was released in October 2020. The album peaked at number 34 on the hip hop charts and 64 on Billboard 200.
# 9 -Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sound of Science
The next pick on our Top 10 Beastie Boys Album Covers list is Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sound of Science. Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sound of Science is the Beastie Boys’ first anthology album and third compilation album. This album contains the group’s hits, B-sides and unreleased songs. The title of the album came from one of their singles. The album cover features a black and white picture of the group dressed as older men. Mike D is on the left, MCA is in the middle and Ad-Rock is on the right. They are walking down the street. Mike D is walking with a cane. He is looking to his left. He is wearing a hat and glasses. MCA is wearing a hat and glasses. He is looking down in the picture. Ad-Rock is looking to his right while holding a cigarette. You can see grass, houses and trees in the background. The border of the album cover is black. The group’s name and album title are written under the picture.
Spike Jonze showed the group’s playful side by having them dressed as older men. Was he being symbolic with the picture? Did he want the listeners to see that the group would have been together until their old age? He did a fantastic job displaying that in the picture. The black and white shot makes the picture look authentic. The group doesn’t look as if they are wearing makeup. It looks like a natural picture of the group. The picture will give you an idea of what they will look like in the future. Spike Jonze is a director and producer. He does music videos, commercials, movies and television. He has worked with the Beastie Boys, Hurricane, Bjork, Weezer, Phantom Planet, Daft Punk, R.E.M., Fat Boy Slim, Tenacious D, as well as others. Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sound of Science was released in November 1999. The album peaked at number 19 on Billboard 200.
# 8 – To the 5 Boroughs
The eighth pick on our Top 10 Beastie Boys Album Covers list is To the 5 Boroughs. To the 5 Boroughs is the Beastie Boys’ sixth studio album. This is the group’s third number one album. This is the first album after the 9/11 attacks in New York. The group combined comedy with sadness with this album. The album cover features a sketch of New York City. The picture has different buildings of New York City. The picture was drawn of New York City before the attacks. You can see waves at the bottom of the album cover. The group’s name is written in bold blue text. The album title is written at the bottom in black letters.
The Beastie Boys wanted to pay homage to New York City. MCA designed the album cover based on a drawing by Matteo Pericoli. MCA wanted to capture the look of New York before the attacks. They wanted to do a tribute to their hometown. The fans got a chance to see the city through his eyes. They also got to see the buildings before the attack. The picture was drawn from a distance, so you get a chance to see a lot of buildings. The picture is inspiring and shows the group’s serious side. To the 5 Boroughs was released in June 2004. The album peaked at number one on Billboard 200. To the 5 Boroughs features the singles “Ch-Check It Out,” “Triple Trouble,” “Right Right Now Now” and “An Open Letter to NYC.” The album sold over one million copies.
# 7 – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
The seventh pick on our list is Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is the Beastie Boys’ eighth studio album. This is the last album the group did together. The group was hit with a major blow. MCA was diagnosed with cancer, so they delayed recording the album. The album cover features a lot of colors and shapes. It has a lot of squares and rectangles. Every color in the crayon box is featured in this picture. The album cover has a white background. The group’s name is featured in red letters. The album title is written in black letters. The group and album title are written as if it is one word.
The Beastie Boys did the art direction for this album. They were inspired by Coldplay’s album X and Y. The Beastie Boys used the same code they used, but they used a different pattern. The album cover is different from the Beastie Boys’ other album covers. It looks like it could be pieces from a puzzle. It also looks like something from a video game. It gives off Tetris vibes. The cover is visually appealing. It is not too bright or dark. The blue will catch your eye immediately. This doesn’t look like an average album cover. It looks like something that would be on the cover of a video game. Hot Sauce Committee Part Two was released in May 2011. The album peaked at number two on Billboard 200 and number one on the hip hop charts. The album features the singles “Lee Majors Come Again,” “Too Many Rappers,” “Make Some Noise” and “Don’t Play No Games That I Can’t Win.”
# 6 – Check Your Head
Check Your Head is the Beastie Boys’ third studio album. The group went back to their roots with this album. They are playing instruments on the album. They still used hip hop lyrics, but they wanted to play instruments on the album. The album cover is a black and white shot. The guys are sitting on the curb. They are surrounded by their instruments. Two of the guys are wearing hats in the picture. One member is wearing sunglasses. They are all wearing black and white in one way or the other. One of the members is looking forward while the other two are looking away from the camera. You can see the sidewalk and grass behind the group.
Photographer Glen E. Friedman captured a photo of the group getting back to their roots. He wanted listeners to see that they didn’t forget about their punk rock days. It reminded the audience that they play instruments. The picture was taken near Capitol Records. The black and white picture makes the picture look more dramatic. The Beastie Boys look like they are relaxing in the picture. It makes you wonder what is going on in their minds as they are posing for the picture. Glen E. Friedman is a photographer and artist. He has worked with the Beastie Boys, Fugazi, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer, Run-DMC, Krs-One, Public Enemy, Minor Threat as well as others. Check Your Head was released in April 1992. The album peaked at number 10 on Billboard 200. Check Your Head features the singles “Pass the Mic,” “So What’cha Want,” “Jimmy James,” “Gratitude” and “Professor Booty.” The album sold over two million copies.
# 5 – The Mix-Up
The next pick on our Top 10 Beastie Boys Album Covers list is The Mix-Up. The Mix-Up is the Beastie Boys’ seventh studio album. This album contains rock, jazz and funk music. They may have used instrumental music, but they weren’t getting rid of the vocals. The album cover is unique. It is an illustration of different things. They mixed it up on this album cover. There is a water cooler with a seahorse inside of it. There is a green animal at the bottom left holding on to a lever. There are instruments, musical notes and reel to reels on the cover. The Beastie Boys are standing inside of a drum. The group’s name is created using images. The album title is written in green letters.
Bill McMullen created a look that would be in an animated movie. We have never seen anything like it. It is an original picture. Bill McMullen captured the group’s love of instruments. He included the group on the cover so fans would know who it is. He came up with a creative way to write the group’s name. He didn’t just rely on using letters. He used images to make up the letters in their name. The picture is vibrant and eye catching. It will have you admire the picture while you are listening to the album. Bill McMullen is a graphic designer and illustrator. He got his start doing flyers for bands. He has worked with the Beastie Boys, Luscious Jackson, Guru, Vibro Lush, Dave Gahan, as well as others. The Mix-Up was released in June 2007. The album peaked at number 15 on Billboard 200. It features the singles “Electric Worm,” “Off the Grid,” “The Cousin of Death” and “The Mix-Up.”
# 4 – Ill Communication
Ill Communication is the Beastie Boys’ fourth studio album. They combined hip hop, funk, jazz and punk rock. They stopped using samples and used live music for their album. The album cover is black and white. The cover features a man in a car. He looks like he is at a drive thru diner. He appears to be trying to place his order. You can see the menu on the left side of the cover. The menu has a big fork on the left and pictures of masks on the right. The man is holding a talk box so he can place his order. He is wearing a black suit. He is wearing sunglasses. The group’s name is written on the top right of the cover while the album title is written underneath their name. The letters are written in black.
Mike D and Gibran Evans worked together to create the picture. They wanted to use Bruce Davidson’s picture for the album cover. Bruce Davidson took the picture in 1964. Bruce Davidson didn’t know anything about the group when they approached him to use the picture. After he heard a demo of their music, he decided to let them use the picture. The black and white picture gives the album a nostalgic feel to anyone who went to that diner at the time. The picture doesn’t fit with the theme of the album, but it will give you a nostalgic feeling. Gibran Evans is a designer who has worked with the Beastie Boys, Aerosmith, Beck, the Smashing Pumpkins, as well as others. Ill Communication was released in May 1994. The album peaked at number one on Billboard 200. Ill Communication features the singles “Get It Together,” “Sabotage,” “Sure Shot” and “Route Down.” The album sold over three million copies.
# 3 – Hello Nasty
Coming in at number three on our list is Hello Nasty. Hello Nasty is the group’s fifth studio album. The title of the album was inspired by a man who worked at a publicity firm called Nasty Little Man. The man who worked there answered the phone by saying Hello Nasty. The album cover features the guys inside of a sardine tin. Ad-Rock is on the left, MCA is in the middle and Mike D is on the right. Ad-Rock is wearing a yellow shirt, MCA is wearing a white shirt and Mike D is wearing a blue shirt. The sun is in the background creating the illusion that the group is baking in the sun. The background of the album is black. The group’s name and album title are written in black letters on the sun.
Michael Lavine played up the group’s goofiness for the picture. It is a very unusual picture because people don’t pose in sardine tins. Since it is the Beastie Boys, it makes sense. It gives the group a chance to have fun. There aren’t too many acts who can get away with doing a picture like this the way the Beastie Boys can. This is a conversational piece because it makes you question why they are in a sardine can. Michael Lavine used a great blend of light and dark colors. Michael Lavine is a portrait photographer. He has worked with the Beastie Boys, White Zombie, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Monster Magnet, Sonic Youth, The Flaming Lips, Notorious B.I.G, as well as others. Hello Nasty was released in July 1998. The album peaked at number one on Billboard 200. Hello Nasty features the singles “Intergalactic,” “Body Movin’,” “The Negotiation Lymerick File” and “Remote Control.” The album sold over three million copies.
# 2 – Paul’s Boutique
Paul’s Boutique is the Beastie Boys’ second studio album. The group changed their musical style from their first album. The album consists of samples. The album cover is a picture of a boutique. There are pictures of clothes hanging on a rack as well as from the building. There are other items sitting on a table and on the ground. There are also shots of other buildings. The shot was taken on a sunny day because you can see the sun reflecting on the building and the ground. The album cover features mostly dark colors. The album title is written as if it is a sign for the store. The group’s name isn’t featured on the album cover.
The album cover is paying homage to the way New York used to be back in the day. Jeremy Shatan took a picture of a real corner store. He wanted the listeners to get a feel of how New York was back in the day. He took a picture of Lee’s Sportswear and changed it to Paul’s Boutique. Jeremy Shatan shot the perfect angle of the store because you get a chance to see what the area looks like. It looks like it would be a fun place to shop. It is a realistic photo of the store. It doesn’t look like special effects or imagery was used for the picture. It looks like a picture of a postcard instead of an album cover. Jeremy Shatan is a photographer who is best known for working with the Beastie Boys. Paul’s Boutique was released in July 1989. The album peaked at number 14 on Billboard 200. Paul’s Boutique features the singles “Hey Ladies,” “Shadrach,” “Shake Your Rump” and “High Plains Drifter.” The album sold over two million copies.
# 1 – License to Ill
The number one pick on our Top 10 Beastie Boys Album Covers list is License to Ill. License to Ill is the Beastie Boys’ debut album. This is the label’s fastest selling debut. This is considered one of the greatest hip hop records of all time. The Beastie Boys combined hip hop with rock. The album cover features a picture of the back of a plane. It is an American Airline Boeing 727. The group’s name is featured on the tail of the plane. You can see the words “3m ta3”. The number ‘3’ is used for the letter ‘e’. If you read the words from right to left, you will see the message they are conveying. The plane is crashing into the side of a mountain.
Rick Rubin got the idea for the album cover from Led Zeppelin’s biography. There is a picture with a private jet in the book. The picture was supposed to capture the group’s rock and roll lifestyle. Steve Byran and World B. Omes had to capture the Beastie Boys’ lifestyle in one photo. The image features dark humor. Celebrities died in plane crashes, so Steve Byran and World B. Omes wanted to bring humor to the situation. Since planes are associated with crashes, they wanted to put a humorous spin on it. They added 3m ta3 on the plane to show their humorous side.
Steven Byran is a graphic designer who has worked with the Beastie Boys, Patti Labelle, LL Cool J, The Elvis Brothers, Peter Gordon, Alison Moyet, Tony Terry, Bobby Enriquez, Bonnie Tyler, Living Colour as well as others. World B. Omes is a photographer who is best known for working with the Beastie Boys. License to Ill was released in November 1986. The album peaked at number one on Billboard 200. License to Ill features the singles “Hold It Now, Hit It,” “Paul Revere,” “The New Style,” “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!),” “Brass Monkey,” “No Sleep til Brooklyn” and “Girls.” The album sold over 10 million copies.
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