Licensed To Ill

Before the internet,  there were “big box” stores that carried CDs and cassettes at low prices. Before that, there were local record stores and national chains like Sam Goody’s and Coconuts (what kind of name for a CD store is that?). In between all these stores, there was a hybrid store that would become the business model for Barnes & Noble stores…the book/CD/tape store.

The one where I picked up Beastie Boys Licensed To Ill was in Princeton, NJ. Located in a strip mall that had grocery and hardware stores, the anchor store was a women’s fashion clothing store (or something of the same ilk), and this little book/CD store. It wasn’t big, it didn’t always have the latest product, but I was there and opportunity was knocking.

Let me jump back for a sec.

Also located in this strip mall were a couple of restaurants that my parents would frequent with friends and business acquaintances. Being a kid without a driver’s license and not much of an argument when it came to preparing dinner for himself, I pretty much had to tag along. Depending on who we would be going out with, it was either an affair that lasted in the neighborhood of an hour or something that would last well into the evening.

On one such occasion that it was a meal that was getting into the later hours of the evening, I was stirring in my seat while my parents and friends were enjoying shots of Sambuca and some Port selections:

“Mom, can I go to the bookstore?”

“Sure, don’t be too long, we’ll be leaving in about 30 minutes.” Before she had finished her sentence my butt, which had fallen asleep on the wooden chair, was halfway to the door.

What a relief? Sweet freedom! I don’t know what I would have done with myself if she had said that I had to stay in that culinary prison.

The bookstore was a couple of stores down from the restaurant and was only going to be open for about 15 minutes. Had to act fast if I was going to pick something up. Heading down the stairs to the “Music” section I hadn’t thought about what I wanted to get. I remember seeing the posters on the wall for the latest releases or things that you would be able to order (arriving in about a week…how times have changed). The thing that really caught my eye was a cardboard cutout of the Licensed To Ill album cover.

Standing before me, it was about 5 – 6 feet tall and it was just the cutout of the plane fuselage with the infamous “3MTA3” on the tail. I think at the time, the only track getting any airplay on the radio was “Fight For Your Right (To Party)”. I wasn’t really into hip-hop at the time but I thought that I would give it a try. I also think I had heard “Girls” through a friend’s headphones at school, or I could totally be making that up. At that time in my life, it didn’t take much to convince me to by your album. Cool cover art or a couple of tracks that I liked, that was pretty much it. If there was only one track on your album that I liked, sorry, no dice.

As the store was closing up and I was heading back to the restaurant, I felt like a kid that had stumbled onto some unseen porno mags (not thrown away by Mom). Got back to the restaurant in time and the rest of the meal wasn’t so bad. I was giddy with excitement as we made our way home, reading through the album lyrics of “Paul Revere”.

Rhymin & Stealin4:09
The New Style4:36
She's Crafty3:35
Posse In Effect2:26
Slow Ride2:57
Fight For Your Right3:28
No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn4:07
Paul Revere3:41
Hold It Now, Hit It3:26
Brass Monkey2:38
Slow And Low3:38
Time To Get Ill3:40