The crew and I just completed an 8 story Beastie Boys mural as part of the NYC Hip Hop 50 celebration at the corner of 14th and Ave. A. After my best childhood friend started at NYU in 1990, I began putting up street art in the Village on a regular basis so this location is significant for me. This is also an area where the Beastie Boys hung out and they recorded their first E.P. down the street at 171 A… where the Bad Brains also recorded their ROIR album. The mural is based on a Licensed to Ill era Beasties photo by Glen E. Friedman, who also shot their Check Your Head cover. When the Beastie Boys’ album Licensed to Ill came out, I was exhilarated by their metamorphosis into a hip-hop group from a punk band because I had mainly been listening to punk. Even though I liked RUN-DMC and the hip-hop from Beat Street and Breakin’, I felt awkward being into hip-hop as a white kid. Licensed to Ill was instantly infectious and a thrilling sonic encapsulation of bratty teen rebellion. It was (and is) a great hip-hop album. The Beasties blew the doors open for me to embrace other hip-hop and they kept evolving musically and spiritually while redefining what was possible within the genre. I’m forever grateful to the Beasties for their contribution to culture and the soundtrack of my life… and for their embrace of, and contribution to, this mural project!
The work on the mural was hot and grueling so thanks to my crew of Rob Zagula and Jon Furlong (who also shot the pics!) as well as Amanda, Oscar, and Cher who were local help from the Lisa Project crew. It takes long hours and intense physical effort to paint at this scale and I’m incredibly grateful for the hard work from everyone. This project also would not have happened without the intense efforts of Wayne and Rey from LISA Project NYC and the generous support of the Hard Rock Hotel.