Rhymin & Stealin

Album: Licensed to Ill (1986)


  • Beastie Boys opened their Licensed to Ill album with this track, which samples John Bonham's drum introduction from Led Zeppelin's "When The Levee Breaks." Producer Rick Rubin had previously explored the crossover between Rock and Hip-Hop in his work with Run–D.M.C., most famously with the cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way"."

    "Rhymin & Stealin" also samples Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" and The Clash version of "I Fought The Law."
  • Beastie Boys were the first artists to sample the drums on "When The Levee Breaks," but many others have gone on to do so, including Björk on "Army Of Me," Eminem on "Kim," Enigma on "Return To Innocence" and Sophie B. Hawkins on "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover." The Beasties returned to the Zeppelin tune again for their 1989 Paul's Boutique track, "B-Boy Bouillabaisse."
  • The group didn't have a sampler when they recorded Licensed to Ill, so getting the Led Zeppelin sample required recording it to a reel-to-reel tape machine and looping it.
  • Like many of their songs, this one finds the Beasties rapping about a life of crime, with plenty of historical references along the way. Ali Baba, Captain Bly and Davey Jones all get a mention, and fittingly considering the John Bonham drum sample, so does Moby Dick.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Cheerleaders In Music Videos

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.

Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright IIISongwriter Interviews

"Dead Skunk" became a stinker for Loudon when he felt pressure to make another hit - his latest songs deal with mortality, his son Rufus, and picking up poop.

Stephen Christian of Anberlin

Stephen Christian of AnberlinSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer/lyricist for Anberlin breaks down "Impossible" and covers some tracks from their 2012 album Vital.

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining Victims

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat WorldSongwriter Interviews

Jim talks about the impact of "The Middle" and uses a tree metaphor to describe his songwriting philosophy.

Richard Marx

Richard MarxSongwriter Interviews

Richard explains how Joe Walsh kickstarted his career, and why he chose Hazard, Nebraska for a hit.