The XX Factor

The Long Lost Beastie Girl

This week’s  New York m agazine has a lively oral history of the Beastie Boys ’ early years, in honor of the 25 th anniversary of their breakout album Licensed to Ill . As a casual fan unschooled in their origin story, I had no idea that Luscious Jackson drummer Kate Schellenbach was also the drummer for an early incarnation of the group (rock nerds feel free to lambaste me for my ignorance in the comments). Her time with the Boys came to an end after Rick Rubin became a collaborator:

Schellenbach: Around that time, I got back from being away, and I ran into the guys at Area. They were all wearing matching Puma sweatsuits that Rick had bought them, and of course he didn’t buy one for me. I respected him as a musician, but he and I did not get along. He was like a meathead sexist asshole. He flat-out said, “I don’t like the way women sound rapping.” It was already something I felt insecure about. Yauch had a heart-to-heart with me: “Rick thinks we can be the first white rap group. We’ll still do the [hardcore] songs, but we’ll do it as the Young and the Useless.” We did that for a while.

I am now going to spend the rest of the afternoon imagining how rap history would have been altered had Schellenbach remained a Beastie Boy. I can’t say for sure what would have happened, but I’d like to think that this parallel universe would not involve Ke$ha.

Correction, Apr. 27, 2010 : The original version of this post forgot the d in Licensed to Ill.