updated 05/04/2012 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/04/2012 AT 6:00 PM ET
When the Beastie Boys first hit big with “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)” in 1987, they crossed the hip-hop color lines and became the first white rap group with any real cred.
Still, with its frat-boy chorus, the song seemed to be somewhat of a novelty. Would they really be able to keep up with the likes of Run-DMC, Public Enemy and Eric B. & Rakim – all contemporary black rap groups?
I, like many other young blacks into hip-hop at the time, was skeptical. But the answer was a surprising, resounding yes. Which is why the “untimely from cancer at 47 hits so hard.