Hosted in partnership with Goldenvoice, the exhibit was held through January and was spread across two rooms in the gallery along with a third smaller room acting as the gift shop.
The Beastie Boys’ authentic sound and lyrics earned them fame as they captivated 1980s youth.
Upon entrance, many nostalgic fans were in awe of the displays. The personal items provided a historical timeline that began with a wall image of a four-member (Mike D, Jeremy Shatan, John Berry, and Kate Schellenbach) 1978 hardcore punk band known as the Young Aborigines.
The final three formative members of the Beastie Boys — Mike D (Mike Diamond), Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz), and MCA (Adam Yauch) — were showcased on another wall along with the band’s vintage boombox in a glass display. Many visitors were instantly drawn to the boombox and took pictures next to it.
A visitor named Megan said “they were part of growing up.” Her friend Kelly added “they were the background sounds to your life.”
Another attendee, Erik, shared his thoughts on the group’s meaning to him.
“I’m an 80’s baby! As a kid who grew up with their music, I think it is amazing to be able to put it together with a collection of their personal belongings,” Erik said. “Just being a hip-hop fan in general, I know what the Beastie Boys did for the genre. They were monarchs on the scene.”
Original handwritten lyrics mounted on walls gave fans a behind the scenes look at the band’s song formation.
“I like a lot of their old stuff … and to see their actual writing is awesome,” a fan Derrick said.
Another fan, Chelsea, said she became a fan more recently in 2017. This was five years after Adam Yauch’s death resulting in the disbanding of the group.
“The Beastie Boys were hugely responsible for bringing hip hop and rap into the mainstream world,” Chelsea said. “Their sound was unique and their timeless lyrics continue to speak for the youth of today.”
They created classic anthems that are still popular today. The Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to III” was the first rap album to reach number 1 on the Billboard 200 in 1987, and stayed at the top spot for seven weeks. Today, they have 7.3 million monthly Spotify listeners and their most popular song “Sabotage” has more than 306 million Spotify plays.
The exhibit also featured clothing, original drawings, graffiti art, old skateboards, a drum machine, records, flyers, event passes/badges from past concerts, and more. The Beastie Boys’ music playing in the background was a necessary and much-appreciated touch. Some fans were seen lip-syncing while others were full-on rocking out.
The Beastie Boys were responsible for a movement in 1980s youth culture inspired by their distinct music, edgy lyrics, and comical-style music videos. Their contribution to hip-hop continues to influence the music industry today.