Amid mostly African-American MCs, an all-Jewish trio called the Beastie Boys put out what must have seemed to be 1986’s unlikeliest hip-hop album, Licensed to Ill. However, with the benefit of a hindsight that takes in hip-hop’s development into overtly political rhymes, then violence-addicted gangsta rap, and finally its current end-of-history stasis, Liel Leibovitz argues today in Tablet Magazine that Mike D, MCA, and Ad-Rock’s insistence on being who they actually were, which happened to be mischievous Jewish stunted adolescents, was the most street thing possible.

Real Deal