The Beastie Boys Story documentary was released via Apple TV + last week, bringing the tale of “three bad brothers you know so well” into homes all over the world. For roughly two hours, the surviving members of the New York City trio — Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz — looked back on the path that took them to legendary status with the assistance of director Spike Jonze.

As they’re discussing their Def Jam Recordings days, Mike D and Ad-Rock mentioned their fallout with Def Jam co-founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons. For even the most ardent Beastie fans, it was somewhat surprising to learn things had gone so horribly wrong.

Following the massive success of their 1986 rap debut Licensed To Ill and subsequent tour, the Beasties said Simmons pressured them to get back on the road with a Budweiser in hand and a whole bunch of other “clown shit.” With that, Yauch told Simmons, “I quit!”

“During all this madness, we stopped being paid royalties,” Ad-Rock explains in the film. “We made money for playing shows — big shows like Madison Square Garden shows but zero dollars for the multiplatinum, smash hit Licensed To Ill.” 

Apple TV +

Shortly after the documentary aired, Simmons addressed the fallout and expressed regret about how he handled the situation.

“Watching the Beastie Boys documentary ….Emotional roller coaster, beautiful story mirroring the coming of age for many in hip hop, plus a great story of the 3 Mens personal evolution and spiritual growth …They were my dear friends And we (mostly them) created some inspiring, fun moments I cant tell you in words how much i really Loved the documentary…. The best parts for me are amongst my greatest memories in my entire life.

“For years i wished i had been more sensitive smarter and compassionate in my dealings with them and SONY .. (who advised us to hold their next royalties until they gave in or at least began working on the new album / a big mistake on our part ) and i wished i was better with all of our partners.”

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Watching the Beastie Boys documentary ….Emotional roller coaster, beautiful story mirroring the coming of age for many in hip hop , plus a great story of the 3 Mens personal evolution and spiritual growth …They were my dear friends And we (mostly them) created some inspiring,fun moments I cant tell you in words how much i really Loved the documentary…. The best parts for me are amongst my greatest memories in my entire life For years i wished i had been more sensitive smarter and compassionate in my dealings with them and SONY .. (who advised us to hold their next royalties until they gave in or at least began working on the new album / a big mistake on our part ) and i wished i was better with all of our partners … i just wasn’t mature , sensitive or human enough to do better But now i see these 2 incredibly talented beautiful people who are music legends and again i get to morn the loss of the great Adam (MCA) … #ripadamyauch ( “I would rather be a hypocrite then the same person forever” Adam Yach ) This is a beautiful documentary about the shared experiences of 3 iconic artists and amazing people SEE THIS and celebrate these hip hop ,rock , and multitalented pioneers journey ❤️

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Simmons goes on to admit youthfulness played a role in how things ended.

“i just wasn’t mature, sensitive or human enough to do better. But now i see these 2 incredibly talented beautiful people who are music legends and again i get to morn the loss of the great Adam (MCA) … #ripadamyauch ( ‘I would rather be a hypocrite then the same person forever’ Adam Yauch ),” he added. “This is a beautiful documentary about the shared experiences of 3 iconic artists and amazing people SEE THIS and celebrate these hip hop, rock and multitalented pioneers’ journey.”

Beastie Boys Never Planned On Making It — But It Was 'Fucking Cool' When They Did

Beastie Boys ultimately ended up on Capitol Records for 1989’s Paul’s Boutique, which was initially a commercial failure but has since become a certified Hip Hop classic. Mike D and Ad-Rock talked about their reinvention — helmed by the late MCA — during a recent interview with HipHopDX.

Find Part I here and Part II here.