Beastie Boys' Mike D: 'Grunge Was a Death Sentence to the Rock That Preceded It'

The hip-hop stalwart reflects on the demise of '80s hair metal.

Ultimate Guitar

The Beastie Boys' Mike D has reflected on the birth of the grunge scene, calling it the "death sentence" to the rock music that had come before it.

In the latest installment of a series of video interviews with Vanity Fair, the rapper reflects on the music scene in the 1990s.

"What was interesting about grunge was that it was this death sentence to the rock that had preceded it, which was hair metal. All of a sudden, grunge came in [and] it wasn't cool anymore, if you were a guy at the gas station, to be into Warrant," he said. "You couldn't have big, fluffy long hair. You had to have f--ked up shorter hair and a plaid shirt. You couldn't be walking around the gas station in spandex anymore."

He also goes onto say that Mike D that the 90s were the "apex moment" for hip-hop thanks to the genre's evolution since the 80s and the emergence of Yo! MTV Raps and the Arsenio Hall Show.

Last weekend (July 26), a mural was painted above the shop front on the street corner depicted on the cover of Beastie Boys' 1989 album "Paul's Boutique" to celebrate the album's 25th anniversary.

The artwork was created after a commission by the current owner of the property by artist Danielle Mastrion.

Mastrion's mural will be situated on the outside wall of Wolfnights, a sandwich shop found between Rivington and Ludlow. The shop was formerly the Lee's Sportswear seen on the cover of the rap trio's second album.

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Go one step further and say that Gangster Rap killed the arty, melodic hip hop trend that both climaxed with and was exemplified by Paul's Boutique.
    I am so sick of hearing about how grunge killed 80s glam metal. It happened over 20 years ago now, but it seems like the topic comes up every other day. There is seriously nothing new to add to that discussion. I like some 80s glam metal, and I like some grunge as well. Who cares at this point what killed what?
    I think hair metal was dying on its own in the late '80s and Appetite for Destruction brought rock back to it's roots, in turn setting the stage for grunge.
    Sorry, your post is ample evidence that you do not understand the full extent of this issue. Let me explain it: GRUNGE KILLED 80s METAL!!!!! Hopefully now you understand, and are properly prepared to ponder and pontificate on this clearly-still-relevant event for the next 10 years.
    Floyd Phoenix
    Like rock n roll hurt the jazz scene, punk killed prog, grunge killed hair metal, then pop killed everything, it's been happening for years, and every time it happened back then it led to angsty kids who look like they didn't care for themselves playing poorly and ruining the virtuosity of the music before it, but it fades quickly and it's just the evolution of music.
    How did Cobain kill the guitar lead? Very few Nirvana songs are missing leads.
    well there wasn't tapping or sweeping 24/7 so it doesn't count as leads..... according to 80's metalheads.
    Ignoring the fact that the solos aren't "shreddy", but most Nirvana "solos" are played out of tune, are atonal, and mostly just noise. I'm a big Nirvana fan, but's let's not pretend that Cobain knew how to play guitar. Great songs, great riffs, wicked basslines, but the solo is often the worst part of the song, although it has its place in their music.
    Cobain did know how to play guitar. He didn't play difficult solos because he didn't want to have to memorize them and sing at the same time.
    Why is everyone so overdramatic about this? Kurt Cobain killed the guitar solo; Grunge destroyed heavy metal; 90's alt-rock sodomized rock music; Smashing Pumpkins took a massive dump on Motley Crue. Alright, we get it. But in 2014, whining about that is as irrelevant as complaining about disco. Rock never died. It became marginally less popular. Why? Because that's how trends work. They rise, they fall. It's not a failure in metal that metal stagnated, and it's not Nirvana's fault that it became more popular than Ozzy Osbourne. Get over it, plug in your headphones, and rock the hell out.
    when mike D says it there's thumbs up all around but when javier reyes says it he's immature
    A "scene" or Genre in rock music only exists because people started imitating each other. WHO CARES?, especially when discussing that ridiculous played-out herd of hair bands
    Wise words as usual. Hair Metal had stagnated with clones of clones, music needed something to kickstart it again. Hope that something can come along soon to give rock a nice shot in the arm to get out of the doldrums that it is getting in. Lots of good music out there, but you have to look for it, something needs to happen to start tearing up the charts and making some worthy musicians some money.
    I for one would be totally happy with the two coinciding and making a comeback. Just as long as some rock was hitting the airwaves beyond nostalgia and niche stations again.
    Does everyone like this article because they agree, or just because it is Mike D?