Rick Rubin Day: Pt 2: License to Ill

This is Steve Ett, the missing link between The Beastie Boys and Steely Dan. After a decade working with Steely Dan and Rickie Lee Jones, he was hired by Rick to engineer 'License To Ill'. The album took a year of 3am finishes to make, which was unheard of for a hip hop record in 1986. Why so long? It was polished. Ett and Rick recorded 'It's the New Style' by recording 24 tracks of percussion loops from drum machines, then dropping tracks in and out, playing the fader's mute buttons like an instrument (Ett is also a drummer). But the most torturous track was 'Fight For Your Right':
  • The original track had a tape-loop drum track, which was soon replaced by a Oberheim DMX being played by hand by Steve Ett.
  • Rick played guitar himself (the guy from Slayer played on the album, but not this single). The Beasties rapped over the track, left Chung King studios and went home.
  • Rick was totally into the track. He'd been waiting for the Beasties to write him a hit for two years and knew this was it. Trying to create the ultimate 80s rock parody, he stripped off the drum machine and put huge rock drums on, and replayed the guitar with a cheesier sound.
  • The Beasties hated the track when someone bought a tape of the finished mix to their tour bus. But Rick knew it would work, and 'License to Ill' went 9 times platinum.
  • The original working title for 'License to Ill'? "Don't Be A Faggot"

    Regarding "the new style" there are also copious amounts of scratching goin on. They used that "arrrrnt" guitar sound a lot. OK, so the DMX is ALL over Licensed to Ill, but what the hell did Rick do with that snare? My DMX snare wasn't even close. Did he change the Eprom or somethin?

    But "fight for youe right"...i could never stand that song...that one and 'girls'...i hated those even in sixth grade, though i did like girls then, just not the song (it's not a song).
    "fight for the right" did suck, but come on "girls" is a classic dirty bubble gum pop song.
    From "Don't Be a Faggot!" to actually being fags; The Beastie Boys have certainly changed!
    ...for the better, one might say.

    Please do a feature on the dust brothers and their sampling frenzy (on paul's boutique, among other records)! it'd be cool.

    by the way, it's licenseD to ill.

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