The Beastie Boys Say Eminem’s ‘Licensed To Ill’ Reference On ‘Kamikaze’ Surprised Them As Much As Anyone

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One of the more striking aspects of Eminem‘s surprise album, Kamikaze, was its cover’s obvious homage to the Beastie Boys’ seminal classic, Licensed To Ill. With both albums featuring a closeup shot of the tail of an airplane, the resemblance is unmistakable. However, despite Kamikaze taking its inspiration from their own, iconic cover art, Beasties Ad-Rock and Mike D say its appearance was as much a surprise to them as it was to everyone else.

The duo appeared recently on “The Strombo Show” host George Stroumboulopoulos to discuss their memoir, Beastie Boys Book, when the conversation naturally turned toward the new album that had the internet buzzing. Mike described the furor the Kamikaze cover caused, telling the Beasties’ host: “I got maybe 10 text messages, 20 text messages. And I’m like, Why do I all of a sudden have like 50 text messages? I better see what’s going on. Everybody’s forwarding me the album cover from, like, the Twitter feed, or whatever. So, that’s how we found out about it.”

The Beasties turned out to be among the few rappers to avoid Eminem’s wrath on the album, as the inveterate veteran took aim at everyone from Machine Gun Kelly to Tyler The Creator in his fiery verses. MGK, at least, didn’t take too kindly to the mentions, responding with his own scathing track, “Rap Devil.” Eminem has since blasted back with “Killshot.”