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The Beastie Boys started out as a hardcore punk group in 1979, and appeared in the compilation cassette New York Thrash with Riot Fight and Beastie. They switched to hip hop with the release of their debut solo album Licensed to Ill (1986), which enjoyed international critical acclaim and commercial success. The group is well-known for their eclecticism, jocular and flippant attitude toward interviews and interviewers, obscure cultural references and kitschy lyrics, and performing in outlandish matching suits.

They are one of the longest-lived hip hop acts and continue to enjoy commercial and critical success in 2008, more than 20 years after the release of their debut album. On September 27, 2007 they were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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