Bargin' In On The Beasties
How The Beastie Boys Came To Be
Bargin' In On The Beasties
How The Beastie Boys Came To Be

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By Francisco Tales

March 12, 2024


So check it: 


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It was ‘83, and I was an RA at NYU. 

Shocking shit, I know.

At the time, anybody who knew anything knew throwin’ parties in res halls was lame, so shit never got too wild or crazy on my floor. 

It was an easy gig. Free room, free food, lower tuition - and all I had to commit to was a little finger-waggin’ to keep up appearances. 

Anyway, my residents knew that I would never write ‘em up or give ‘em a hard time unless they were being excessively dumb. Actually doing my homework was enough of an adjustment for me - I wasn’t trying to fill out any damn reports. 

So, the dudes in the res hall knew I was chill, and we had a mutual understanding - I tried to give everyone their space. No funny shit - and if you were gonna smoke weed in your dorm room, you had to let me get a hit or two in if you wanted to avoid any problems.

The NYU grind was crazy, and I was still trying to keep my appearances up around The Neighborhood, so I was rarely even around the dorms. But one day, while I was laid up in bed sick as hell with a head cold, I got a noise complaint about a room on my floor. Perfect motherfuckin’ timing.

The complaint came from the hall beneath us and called out the music from my resident’s room as being “way too loud”. 

And you know what? It was loud. It was loud as hell!

The culprit, my man Ricky, was hosting a few “guests” in his room, and these fools were basically throwing a full-on punk show in Ricky’s dorm room. I mean, electric guitar, bass, two amps, and a whole drum set were all crammed in Ricky’s tiny little dorm room, along with mics and stands and all kinds of other equipment. 

I knew Ricky was trying to make it as a record producer, and I had admired the shit out of his drive. Still, even though I was usually lenient as hell, this seemed a little ridiculous. 

I asked Ricky: “What the hell is going down in here? ” He told me he was cutting a record. Can you believe that shit? My man was cutting a record in a damn dorm room. I didn’t know how to respond. I mean, on the one hand, I respected the hell out of it, on the other - what the fuck, Rick?


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Being that I was a chill RA, I just gave him a verbal warning and told him to get the damn guitars unplugged and the drumset broken down and outta there. 

He was annoyed, but he understood. The punk playing the guitar flicked his pick at me and called me a “poindexter”. I brushed it off. I mean, the kid looked like he was barely sixteen. Plus, I was pretty sure I’d seen him around - at the club or the skatepark - somewhere I couldn’t quite place.

Before I left Ricky’s dorm, and as the band started packing it up - I had a thought. I told Ricky that the kids complaining would probably be less pissed about the music if they were bumping hip-hop instead of trying to recreate CBGBs in Ricky’s dorm room. I mean, I loved punk music, of course - practically came up through the punk scene. But not all the kids at NYU seemed to be keen and hearing that shit ring out through the dorm halls at 2 pm on a Thursday.

The kids just wanted to bop their heads and chill. 

Ricky was amused, and a conversation started brewin’. We started talking records, and I suggested Ricky start working on a break beat. I ran to my room and brought him my favorite record, Sun Ra’s Space is the Place. That record’s a top-five to this day. 

I threw it on Ricky’s table and started jamming it - not too loud of course. 

The bass player started laying a few bars down. Just a joke at first, but then shit started to get real. Pretty soon, a cypher was building, and the kids weren’t half bad.

Ricky let Side A play through and when it finished, I let the boys know: like, “damn, y'all beast-ed that beat.” Right then, I saw the band look at each other like a lightbulb had just gone off in their heads. 




In the weeks that followed, Ricky would be up day and night, listening to Bad Brains, then Grandmaster Flash, then The Beatles, then back to hip-hop with some Coldcrush Brothers, it was all over the place - but the music was constant. I never even saw him go to class.

He was posted up in his dorm room like a mad scientist on a mission.

A couple of semesters later I was chilling in my room listening to some Gap Band on my Walkman when a bright purple flier slid under my door. It was advertising the launch party for Ricky’s then-unlicensed “label” - Def Jam.

Of course, I knew I had to pull up, and of course, the party was hot. 

It was being thrown at Danceteria, a club that, at the time, was one of the trendiest music spots in New York. It was wall-to-wall talent. T La Rock, Jazzy Jay, Afrika Bambataa, LL Cool J, and on and on and on. I grabbed myself a bev and chilled out waiting for the first act to go up. 

After a while the lights went down, the spotlight hit, and there they were…The Beastie Boys.

And they burned the motherfuckin’ house down. 

We had a couple of shots and shared some laughs after their set. I was a fan for life. 

At that same party, Ricky linked up with a young, opportunistic businessman by the name of Russell Simmons, and the rest is hip-hop history. 

A year later, Ricky was the now infamous Rick Rubin, and, along with his new business partner, caught a historically lucrative deal with Columbia Records - but that’s another story for another day. 




Aight, stay up.

- Francisco.