Derided as one-hit wonders, estranged from their original producer and record label, and in self-imposed exile in Los Angeles, the Beastie Boys were written off by most observers before even beginning to record their second album – an embarrassing commercial flop that should have ruined the group's career. But not only did Paul's Boutique eventually transform the Beasties from a fratboy novelty to hip-hop giants, its sample-happy, retro aesthetic changed popular culture forever.
Paul's Boutique was an unexpected album from the Beastie Boys, and its unabashed geekiness and exposure of the band's white middle-class roots were blamed for its commercial failure. Narrator Joshua Swanson's casual, laid-back performance complements this exploration of the background behind the Beastie Boys' sophomore effort, which came to be seen as a masterpiece with a lasting impact on popular culture. Swanson makes listeners feel as though they are hanging out with the Beastie Boys and the crew behind their album, including Matt Dike and the Dust Brothers, whose samples and retro aesthetic are now widely considered groundbreaking and influential.
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