The Beastie Boys were an incredibly impactful group operating in New York during the 1980s. Despite the absolute supremacy of Run-DMC at the time, the Beastie Boys were a highly prevalent group with a very loyal fanbase. Comprised of Michael ‘Mike D’ Diamond, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch and Adam ‘Ad-Rock’ Horovitz, akin to Run-DMC, the trio brought the genres of rock and hip-hop together in a clever way and made an indelible mark on the culture.
The collective was formed in 1978, and by the mid-’80s, they had quickly risen to the top of the charts. The group first gained traction in New York and its surrounding regions. However, their appeal went nationwide after a tour with the ‘Queen Of Pop’ Madonna. As the opening act for Madonna on The Virgin Tour, the Beastie Boys travelled across the entirety of the US and Canada and garnered much attention whilst doing so.
Unlike other hip-hop acts out at the time, Beastie Boys could handle their own production as all three members were instrumentalists in their own right. Mike D was a drummer who had played with the Walden Jazz Band. However, it was when he decided to join the Young Aborigines (a hardcore punk band) that he met his musical counterparts. The Young Aborigines were unsuccessful. However, Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock had formed a bond while in the band and continued to make music together under the moniker Beastie Boys following the band’s dissipation in 1978.
Unlike many 1980s hip-hop acts, Beastie Boys used a lot of live rock instrumentation in their music instead of programmed samples. Before they toured with Madonna, the band had laid much groundwork by supporting acts such as Bad Brains, the Dead Kennedys, the Misfits and Reagan Youth. However, this was on the punk rock circuit. It was after one 1983 track that they decided to transition into hip-hop.
In 1983, operating as a rock band with a passing interest in the hip-hop movement dominating New York, Beastie Boys decided to make a parody rap song entitled ‘Cooky Puss’. The track was named after the fictional character that appeared in advertisements for Carvel Ice Cream. The character had cookies for eyes and an ice cream cone for a nose.
As immature adolescents, the group made a song that effectively heard Ad-Rock prank call the company and ask if he could speak to Cookie Puss. After the woman refused, he yelled some derogatory things at the phone operator. However, he has come to regret the track’s creation. In the Beastie Boys autobiography, the rapper wrote, “There’s a definitely line between funny prank call and being mean,” he wrote in the Beastie Boys Book. “Just randomly calling and cursing a woman out on the phone is not cool.”
However, ‘Cooky Puss’ was a highly successful song for Beastie Boys, and its reward inspired the group to incorporate rap into their style and effectively gave birth to their style moving forward. You can listen to ‘Cooky Puss’ in the video below.