Who knows if we'd be able to party as freely as we can today if the Beastie Boys hadn't come along and told us to fight for it?

Emerging out of New York City's hardcore punk scene in the early '80s, Adam "MCA" Yauch, Mike "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz forever changed the pop landscape by fusing hip-hop with punk, bringing the world its first chart-topping rap album in the process. But while it's easy to hear a song like "Hey Ladies" or "Brass Monkey" and assume it's just a group of snotty frat boys appropriating hip-hop culture, that's never been who the Beastie Boys actually were. In actuality, they were three of the most innovative, audacious and brilliant musicians of the past three decades and everyone who ever incorporated hip-hop into rock or used sampling in a song is indebted to them – regardless of race, genre or level of self-referential brattiness.

After cancer unfairly stole Yauch from us in 2012 at the age of 47, the Beastie Boys' catalog will now forever consist of just eight albums released between 1986 and 2011 — each of which we rank below. But their true legacy will be tied in some way to nearly every hip-hop or alternative album that's been released since.

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